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|August 5, 1998||
Jammu averages 50 killings a month
Militancy-related incidents have claimed nearly 150 lives in the past three months in Jammu and Kashmir's Jammu region.
Intelligence sources said Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence, having suffered successive political and military reverses in Kashmir, is now concentrating on areas south of the Pir Panjal range -- that is, Poonch, Rajouri, Doda and Udhampur, all in Jammu.
"The ISI," sources said, "has gradually shifted its stand from azadi to a pan-Islamic jihad. It now aims at communalisation and ethnic cleansing by hitting soft targets."
Due to the near depletion of local recruits for its cause, the foreign agency is now trying to sustain militancy through the induction of mercenaries, heavy weapons and special task teams, they added.
Among the major incidents in the state this year is the January 23 massacre at Wandhama in the valley in which 23 people were killed. The episode led to a wave of migration from the region.
Another massacre took place in Prankote, Udhampur. Twentysix people were killed in the intervening night of April 17 and 18, leading to the migration of nearly 1,000 people to Reasi, Pouni Thanpal, Chasana and other towns of the district.
Kishtwar, Bhadrawah, Prem Nagar and Thathri of the Doda district are communally sensitive, and the Prankote killings had repercussions in the form of five persons of a particular community being beaten to death by a mob in Prem Nagar. Their bodies were then thrown into the Chenab river.
On June 19, militants shot down 25 people in Chapnari in Doda. It is said the Chapnari killings were carried out in retaliation to the Prem Nagar incident.
The next major incident took place in Machla village, Doda district. Four members of a family, including three women, were gunned down on July 25. This killings were attributed as a retaliation to the Chapnari incident.
Militants also killed 16 people on July 28 in Horan and Saravan villages of Thukari in Doda.
Taking advantage of the inaccessibility of Doda, militants have now extended their activities to the bordering Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. As many as 35 labourers were killed on August 3. This was the first such incident in HP.
Within 24 hours of this incident, 19 more were killed in Poonch district. An entire family was brutally wiped out in the incident. Those killed included 14 children and two women.
The same day, at least eight people were killed in Mahor area in Udhampur district.
Sources say tension continue to prevail in parts of Doda and Udhampur. The locals are angry with the security forces, alleging that the troops are not taking timely action. Instead, they are harassing innocent people, they allege.
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