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'Keran incursion was nothing, the media hyped the story'

October 09, 2013 16:59 IST

'Some people chose to describe it as the Pakistan army's permanent presence, as if it's another Kargil. The reports were highly exaggerated.' Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt, who is travelling with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his two-nation trip to Brunei and Indonesia, reports.

In a scathing attack on television news channels for hyping up the incursion in the Keran sector of Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir on September 24 by some 30 to 40 terrorists, a senior government official said, "It has always been clear that some people choose to make a story out of nothing very much."

While dismissing the event as routine, he went to the extent of saying that, "This for me is the dog chasing the tail, frankly."

While criticising the television hype given to the incursion at the western border, he said, "It was an intrusion. Some people chose to describe it as (the Pakistan army's) permanent presence, as if it's another Kargil. The reports were highly exaggerated."

"Some infiltrators tried to get in. They came through broken ground, they were detected, and they were stopped. There was a fire-fight. They pulled back, they tried again. It was in a different area where the operation took place."

"If you see the distance from where they came in and where the encounter took place (in Shalbhatti village)," the official said, "it was some 20 kilometres away from the border. It was contained. There was no occupation of territory as in Kargil. The Indian Army carried out a 14-day operation to flush out terrorists."

He regretted that military events like this are not well-handled where the media can get information at a fixed time every day. Indirectly, he criticised the erratic manner in which senior army officers leaked information about the incident.

Mincing no words, the official said, "Part of the problem is some people got too excited (after the intrusion took place). They made the huge story out of it and didn't know how to climb off the tree."

"No firing has taken place for the last four days, but the story is still alive! This for me is the dog chasing the tail, frankly. The fact is, it was an intrusion and it was contained."

The official accepted that the intruders were supported by the Pakistan army.

"It goes without saying that nothing like this happens without the Pakistan army being involved. Defence Minister A K Antony has said so in Parliament too. It's not a new thing."

Sheela Bhatt in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei