Massive spike in ceasefire violations by Pak
There has been a massive 14-time escalation in the ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the Line of Control(LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir in the first four months this year compared to the corresponding period in 2017. Sample this: As against 60-odd violations last year, the figure, at present, stands at 810. Such is scale that in four months flat the violations have already come close to matching the numbers for the entire last year. And as against 860 violations in 2017, the first four months till April, 2018 witnessed 810 violations by Pakistan.
The trend of ceasefire violations is unabated and the relentless firing from across the LOC has claimed 12 civilian lives besides 10 soldiers so far. Gearing up for escalation, the Army has further reinforced its posts along the LOC to minimize loss of lives when these bunkers are targeted by the Pakistan Army on both sides of Pir Panjal mountain ranges in the state. While South of Pir Panjal comprises border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, North of Pir Panjal includes Uri and bordering districts in North Kashmir.
Explaining the rationale for such a massive spike in violations, officials in the security establishment said here on Saturday the Pakistan Army is determined to keep the LOC hot for two reasons. The first factor is that as many as 150-odd militants are ready to infiltrate from South of Pir Panjal into Poonch and Rajouri, as many as 250 well trained terrorists are in launch pads across the LOC facing North Kashmir.
The Pakistan Army is resorting to firing on the Indian posts in both the regions to provide covering fire to militants trying to sneak into the state. While it is difficult to infiltrate into Poonch and Rajouri due to terrain, officials admitted the high mountain regions and thick forests give ample protection to the militants in North Kashmir to come in through gorges.
The second reason is that the Pakistan Army is trying hard to dominate the LOC in Poonch and Rajouri by targeting the Indian Army posts. Most of the casualties of civilians and soldiers have taken place in this sector in the last four months.
Faced with this twin-pronged strategy of Pakistan, the Army on the one hand is strengthening its bunkers all along the 750-KM LOC with special focus on Poonch and Rajouri sectors to withstand the assault.
On the other hand, to prevent militants from infiltrating through North Kashmir, the Army has further fine tuned its anti-infiltration and anti-insurgency grid in that region. The effort is to neutralize the militants on the LOC itself when they attempt to get in or nab or neutralize them in a zone of one to two km if they are able to sneak in, sources said. Out of 56 terrorists killed so far in the State this year, at least ten to 12 were killed on the LOC while trying to infiltrate, officials said. that infiltration bids will increase in the coming weeks, they said at least 24 to 25 militants have managed to sneak in the first three months.
As regards providing security to civilians, the project to construct more than 14,000 bunkers is on all across the state in a zone of one to five km vulnerable to mortar shelling by the Pakistan Army. Nearly 200 bunkers are already operational in Poonch and Rajouri. The entire project will cost about Rs 415 crores. It includes individual bunkers for local population living right on the border and not able to escape once firing starts. These bunkers are built in their homes to protect them and their livestock from machine gun fire and mortar shells.
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