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85 terror camps in PoK: Army
Josy Joseph in New Delhi |
October 07, 2003 17:18 IST
Pakistan is pumping in terrorists from 85 terror camps and some 120 launching pads along the Line-of-Control to step up violence in Kashmir, the India Army claimed on Tuesday, even as it paraded a Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist from Pakistan before defence attaches of over 30 countries and journalists.
A senior army officer said Pakistan "continues to retain its infrastructure to calibrate cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir" and that "approximately 85 terrorist camps" are in operation in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
The level of infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir in the recent days is comparable to the previous years, but the level of violence has gone up, he said.
"Violent incidents are showing an upward trend," the officer said, claiming that frustrated terrorists are looking for soft targets, including civilians.
The terrorists' communication network has seen drastic improvement and equipment for encoding radio communications is being used extensively. Renaming and re-siting of some of the communication control stations is also being done frequently.
In the first week of this month, the army foiled three infiltration attempts and killed 25 terrorists. In September, 77 infiltration attempts were foiled and 211 terrorists were killed. "It is the highest figure for a month since militancy started in Kashmir," the officer said.
The army has re-deployed its forces in the border areas of Kupwara, where a sudden spurt in infiltration has been noticed.
The army has also developed capacities to track terrorists from their launching pads in PoK through their infiltration routes and these abilities are helping the army in higher kill of terrorists.
New equipment, such as hand-held thermal imagers and night vision equipment, has given the army an edge in its fight against militancy in the Valley.
The officer said the army is also involved in welfare activities in the Valley to win over locals to its side. Seven battalions of Territorial Army, comprising almost 7000 Kashmiri youths, called the Home and Hearth Battalions in Kashmir, are being raised.
The terrorist, Mohammed Shahzad, whom the army brought before the media and foreign defence attaches, said he was a resident of Faisalabad, Pakistan.
A class-nine dropout, he was brain-washed into joining Lashkar-e-Tayiba and take up arms. But once in the Indian side of Kashmir, he realised the situation was "not as bad as it was being made out be in Pakistan," he said.
The army said it captured the jehadi in Doda during an operation on September 13.