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Army fears more violence in J&K
The Army apprehends that violence levels in Jammu & Kashmir will spiral up in the coming days, starting with the last Friday of the holy month of Ramzan on June 23. Terrorists could go all out after Eid on June 26 and up the ante in the run up to July 8, the first death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, who was killed on that day by security forces leading to violent protests for more than five months.
Fearing that terrorists could target the security forces, vital installations and political workers, the Army has deployed additional 3,000 soldiers along National Highway-44 in Kashmir Valley to prevent such attacks.
Gearing up to face the challenge, jawans of additional three battalions (one battalion has 1,000 soldiers) will fan out to the interior areas along the highway passing through restive South Kashmir to deter terrorists from launching attacks on security forces.
The Army is stepping up security measures in the backdrop of reports that more than 280 terrorists were ready to escalate violence in the Valley in the coming days and weeks. Incidentally, the ongoing month of Ramzan starting May 27 has seen a spike in terror-related incidents. This trend was contrary to expectations as in the past terrorists restrained from violence during the holy month, officials here said.
The brutal manner of the killing of six policemen in an ambush in South Kashmir on Friday has alarmed the security establishment. A group of terrorists ambushed a police party at Achabal in Anantnag killing six policemen and disfiguring their faces.
Source said given this scenario of unrelenting cycle of violence, the terrorists, many of whom also observe fast during Ramzan and prefer to lie low, could swing into action after Eid. Security forces have seen an urgency on the part of Pakistan-backed terrorists this year to infiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC). They have a shortened window of time because of poor snowfall in the higher reaches.
The terrorists now waiting on the launch pads in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (POK) across the LoC can get in till September-end only as snow will again block the infiltration routes in North Kashmir October onwards, sources said.
The Army is ready to face the twin challenge of increased infiltration bids from higher mountain reaches and from those militants who are already inside the Kashmir valley and are desperate to step up violence. An additional battalion is already deployed along the LoC in infiltration prone North Kashmir besides three battalions in the hinterland as part of more robust counter-infiltration and counter-insurgency grids, they said.
The security forces also have to ensure that the month-long Amarnath yatra starting June 29 passes off without any incident. While additional 30,000 para-military forces have already secured the nearly 300 km long yatra route and camps for pilgrims, the Army has deployed two battalions to cover the two routes to holy Amarnath shrine. These routes are through Pahalgam and Sonamarg respectively.
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