SRINAGAR: The Army said on Saturday that even though the infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) has been restricted to a a large extent due to the increased vigil being maintained along the de facto border, the recruitment of local youth into the militants’ ranks has gone up slightly in the past one month.
“In the past six months, the recruitment of the youth into the terrorist ranks had come down but now it has again seen a little rise,” Lieutenant General BS Raju, the General-Officer-Commanding of the Srinagar-based 15 Army Corps, also known as Chinar Corps, told reporters.
At the same time, he noted with "great satisfaction" that many among those who are already in the militants’ ranks are coming forth to surrender, “which is a very good sign”.
He said that there are inputs that about 250-300 militants are waiting to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir from POJK but the army has been successful to some extent in blocking their infiltrations.
He added, “Last year, 130 terrorists had infiltrated but this year the number has been reduced to less than thirty.” He claimed that the overall situation along the LoC is under control as only a few ceasefire violations are being initiated by Pakistan to push militants into J-K. “The terrorists who cross the LoC are surrendering in huge numbers but we are not making a show of it,” he further said.
He alleged that Pakistan has not given up its efforts to create trouble in J-K. “There has been no change in Pakistan’s intentions but we will treat it’s all wrong actions in future too (sic),” he said.
He said that almost every operation carried out by the security forces in the hinterland has been a success. “You have seen we have continued to neutralise terrorists. It is seen that when we neutralise terrorists, particularly foreigners in an area, peace returns to it. Such change has been witnessed in Pulwama and Kulgam in the recent past,” he said.
Lt. Gen Raju said the Army on Saturday morning also foiled a weapon smuggling bid in the Kishanganga river area of Keran sector in Kupwara district by recovering a huge cache of arms and ammunition. “The consignment included four AK-47 rifles with 8 magazines and 240 rounds. The transportation bid was foiled across the Kishanganga river,” he said.
The Army sources said that the recovery was made after the Army troops deployed in the area noticed movement of two to three men who were transporting some items in a tube through Kishanganga river.
Lt. Gen. Raju termed the recovery of weapons as a “great success for us and a big blow to Pakistan” and said “with such efforts, we have high hopes that the internal situation will become better."
Meanwhile, two Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants, including a Pakistani national, were killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Chinigam area of southern Kulgam district early Saturday. In the afternoon, a brief clash took place between the security forces and the militants in Dadura area of neighbouring Pulwama district, leaving two unidentified ‘militants’ dead, the police said.
Officials here said that a gunfight broke out after a joint team of J-K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG), the Army’s 1 Rashtriya Rifles and the 18th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) launched a cordon-and-search-operation in Chinigam area of Kulgam.
“As the joint team encircled the suspected spot, the hiding terrorists fired at them. The fire was retaliated by the joint team, triggering off an encounter,” the police said in a statement. It identified the slain militants as Tariq Ahmed Mir, a resident of Kulgam’s Zangalpora Divsar village, and Sameer Bhai alias Usman. The police also said the duo was associated with JeM outfit and that Usman was an ‘A’ category militant.
The police sources said that another fire fight took place in Pulwama’s Dadura Kangan area after the SOG, the CRPF and the Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles laid siege to the area to flesh militants out. Two militants whose identities could not be ascertained immediately were killed. The operation was underway as reports last came in....