New Delhi, April 13
Fresh infiltration attempts by Pakistan-based terror outfits were foiled on Wednesday morning in Uri and Bhimber Gali districts of Jammu and Kashmir, two days after the Indian Army said it stopped terrorists from sneaking into Kupwara district, killing four militants.
Infiltration bids are in an upward spiral, according to the Army and the Border Security Force (BSF), while tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after Pakistan sentenced former Indian Navy commando Kulbhushan Jadhav to death on Monday.
According to the Union home ministry, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed 155 terror attacks between October 2016 and March 2017. Infiltration attempts rose to 371 in 2016, from over 121 in 2015 and 222 in 2014. Until February 2017, 43 infiltration attempts had been made.
Even as militants use the hills connecting Pakistan with Bandipore, Baramulla, Ganderbal and Srinagar, it is the ravines between the hills, security officials said, that are notorious for movement of militants-routes that have become unpassable for now because of avalanches.
“The vegetation and the terrain in Kashmir are a huge natural guard for militants. Even if they don’t use the hills, there are routes from the southern side through Naoshera and Rajouri, which they use. The vegetation and the forest cover allow them to camouflage and sneak in,” said a senior BSF official, requesting anonymity.
Senior BSF officials, on condition of anonymity stated that the winter months saw heightened militant activity because several militants who would have sneaked in during the summer would launch an offensive in the winter.
Security forces warned that infiltration bids would likely increase in the months to come-with ravines, nallahs and passes in the upper reaches of the Himalayas becoming clear of snow cover-until the areas surrounding the Kashmir Valley are sealed once again by snow.
“The militants do not risk infiltrating in the winter. Once snow falls, visibility goes up and their cover is blown. They use the time when the snow starts melting to sneak into Indian territory and that’s when we lay out ambushes to apprehend them,” said a senior army official of the Northern Command, on condition of anonymity.
New Delhi, April 13