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J&K: Jihadi infiltration on a low, claims army

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 15:40 IST

J&K: Jihadi infiltration on a low, claims army


Vicky Nanjappa

Though the numbers of infiltrators into the Kashmir Valley have come down considerably, security forces cannot afford to relax yet, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

A Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist Nisar Ahmed was apprehended by the army on Wednesday, while he was trying to infiltrate into the Kashmir Valley.

A team comprising the army, the Intelligence Bureau and other security officials continue to interrogate Ahmed, and the immediate information that they have been able to get is that he was in the Valley with a specific purpose to carry forward the war on Kashmir and it was the Pakistan based Inter-Services Intelligence which was helping a great deal in such infiltrations.

A source in the military intelligence working at the Valley says that this has become more of a routine lately.

"Ahmed is just one among of several thousand militants who have tried to infiltrate into the Valley with a specific agenda to cause havoc in the state," the source said.

"However, statistics available with us show that the number of infiltrations have gone down considerably. In 2011, there have been just 98 infiltration bids compared with 498 in 2010; and 490 in 2009," he added.

Although the numbers are down considerably, there is no way in which the security forces can relax, since such situations about a drop in the infiltration have been witnessed in the past too. But it seems like part of a strategy to catch security forces off guard.

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Image: Indian army officer shows a seized pistol after a gun battle with Laskar militants to media in Kupwara, Kashmir
Photographs: Danish Ismail/Reuters

Terrorists don't enjoy local support like before

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Ahmed's interrogation will primarily involve questions pertaining to the role played by both the Pakistan Army and the ISI in helping the infiltration process. What the IB has found so far, is that there are dedicated camps across the border which train Lashkar terrorists, who are then asked to get into India.

Intelligence reports suggest that there are at least 500 terrorists, who have been readied for jihad, waiting to cross over.

Although most of these terrorists have been dedicated for the Kashmir battle, there are some who could be sent to other parts of the country as well. However, the primary requirement is for Kashmir, since that will continue to remain the main battle for Pakistan.

The past two years have been a cat and mouse game between Indian security agencies and the terrorist groups. A while ago, terrorists enjoyed local support, and the Indian Army had a lot to do before it could win the confidence of the locals.

However, the local support has reduced considerably which is making it difficult for the terrorists to hide in India. This has made the terrorists of both the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and the Lashkar desperate.

They have been finding it difficult over the past couple of months to send in their troops and also finding lack of volunteers to help the cause.

During the interrogation of several volunteers and terrorists, the army got information that the terrorist groups have been paying Rs 5 lakh per infiltration as against the Rs 50,000 earlier, a fact which was corroborated by Ahmed.

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Image: Border Security Force soldiers patrol the fenced border with Pakistan near Jammu
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters
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Security forces have the upper hand, for now

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At the moment, it appears that security forces have the upper hand when it comes to dealing with infiltration. However, they are also aware that the ISI or the Pakistan Army would not give up and will continue to come up with various methods to ensure that they put their forces in the Valley, said a source.

While on one hand they have been spending more money, and on the other hand, newer wings are being formed to facilitate this process.

"The ISI has set up dedicated control rooms for this purpose and there is a steep increase in this," said the source.

There are dedicated personnel from the Pakistan Army and the ISI, who form part of wings that focus only on infiltration and these persons comprise both members of army and the ISI, both serving and retired.

Also what is being noticed is that the ISI has been deliberately not attempting mass infiltration and has been sending in terrorists in small numbers.

"This is just a ploy to test the waters which has been witnessed a lot since the past six months," added the source.

Image: Image used for representation only

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