|HOME | NEWS | J&K TALKS AND THE CARNAGE | REPORT|
September 4, 2000
J&K militants may strike during PM's US visit
Josy Joseph in New Delhi
Security agencies are keeping their fingers crossed as Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee begins his two week tour of the United States of America, where he will be addressing the world's largest gathering of heads of state at the United Nations's Millennium Summit and also confabulate with American President Bill Clinton.
Desperate to chart a new and aggressive path for the decade-old militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-backed terrorists have been discussing, with their contacts across the border, the possibility of carrying out deadly strikes that could get them world attention during this crucial period.
Messages intercepted by the army, para-military forces, their intelligence units and other independent intelligence agencies point in this direction.
"Pakistan is desperate to get Kashmir on the world agenda and they seem to believe there is no better time than now, when world leaders are all in New York," says an official with an intelligence agency.
Pakistan's Chief Executive Officer General Pervez Musharraf would be putting forward his country's view point on Kashmir before those who are ready to listen. "It is very important that Pakistan get attention on Kashmir," point out home ministry officials.
In fact, army and home ministry officials in New Delhi believe that the prime minister's two-week stay in the USA holds the same potential for militants as President Clinton's visit to India in March.
When Clinton was in Delhi, a group of foreign mercenaries struck at Chattisinghpora in Anantnag district killing 36 Sikhs on the night of March 19-20. It was the first time that Sikhs were targeted in the 10-year history of militancy in the valley.
"A similar attempt cannot be ruled out," says a senior army official.
Militants could also strike to pre-empt any American move to persuade General Musharraf and Vajpayee to agree to a cease-fire in the valley, points out a home ministry official. He says groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba will vehemently oppose any attempt at a cease-fire and 'would intensify attacks'.
In the wake of the Hizbul Mujahideen sponsored cease-fire, terrorists carried out some of the bloodiest strikes in the history of the Kashmir militancy. At Pahalgam, 32 Amarnath pilgrims were gunned down, while, across the valley, several unarmed persons were massacred. Most of them belonged to the minority Hindu community.
Militants also detonated an improvised explosive device in the heart of Srinagar killing 10 people, including a photojournalist.
Sources said the militants may target the Jammu region where Hindus and Sikhs live in large numbers. They said security in the region has been tightened and house to house searches and surprise checks are also being carried out regularly.
All security formations in the valley have been warned about the possibility of terrorists trying to wreck havoc. They have also been warned about possible suicide missions, especially in crowded places.
The army has intensified patrolling along the Line of Control and the International Border to check attempts at infiltration, officials said.
The prime minister's visit will push the security agencies into yet another month of tough posturing and surprises, after braving the bloodiest month in the history of militancy in Kashmir. August witnessed the highest number of killings by militants in the last 10 years.
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK