Terrorists taking advantage of milder winter in J&K
The Sunjwan Army camp attack has proved the apprehensions of the security establishment right about a likely spurt in terror offensives given the milder winter this season and the resultant lesser snowfall that may have helped easier movement of terrorists in the hinterland as also from across the Line of Control (LoC).
The Saturday attack is the third such incident in the last one month, the other two being terrorists managing to free one of their associates after attacking the accompanying police party in Srinagar hospital and an attempt to storm a Rashtriya Rifles camp in Kakpora.
While commanders are now shoring up for more daring attacks on sensitive installations in the days to come, the Army has further strengthened its anti-infiltration grid by deploying additional units in multi-tiered network, officials said here. While at least three infiltration attempts came to notice in the last one month, officials admitted many more bids may have succeeded. Seven infiltration attempts took place in the same period last year as Kashmir received heavy snowfall.
Given the present ground situation, they said tempo had already picked up with terrorists carrying out the attack in Srinagar earlier this week and managed to free their accomplice Naved. Two policemen were killed and officials said this was one of the most “daring” actions by terrorists in the last many years and did not augur well.
Enunciating on these factors, they said terrorists moved around more freely in the ongoing winter months and there was no inhibition on their part to do so. Generally, they hole up during harsh cold to avoid falling ill and also stay away from walking on snow as their footprints can be detected by Army patrols or from aerial surveillance.
With more than 300 terrorists, including 120 foreign terrorists, now active in Kashmir valley, sources said the levels of violence are likely to go up. Moreover, more than 128 local youths joined the terrorist ‘tanzeems’(organizations) last year and these elements will be directed by their handlers to attack security forces to prove their mettle.
The swelling of new recruits by more than 40 per cent as compared to figures of2016, officials said, was another worrying dimension of militancy in the State. Eager to make a mark, these youths accompanied by more experienced fighters will definitely target security forces in an effort to trigger collateral damage in terms of innocents getting caught in cross-fire. Any civilian casualty will also lead to mass protests and stone-pelting incidents, they said.
On the Army’s action plan to deal with these emerging threats, officials said patrols have increased the timing and reach to cover more area to deny terrorists’ freedom of space and movement. If need be, more security personnel may be inducted in the coming months to further strengthen the counter-terrorism grid, they added. Moreover, many Army posts, which are generally closed during winter months, have also been activated in the higher reaches to improve area domination.
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