Over 300 militants waiting on launch pads: Lt Gen Dua

Awantipora, (Pulwama)

General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Srinagar based 15 Corps, Lt General Satish Dua, today said that over 300 militants are waiting on the launch pads near the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) to infiltrate.

In an exclusive interview to Excelsior, Lt General Dua said that for past few weeks their attempts to infiltrate have increased ahead of snowfall that closes the mountain passes.  “Just before snow sets in, they keep trying to push in militants. There are over 300 militants who are ahead on the launch pads waiting to be launched. But unfortunately for them, they are not finding an opening. The infiltration that happened this year is negligible and whatever does get through shallow area is being caught there”, he added.

The GOC said that due to coordinated efforts and multi-tier counter infiltration grid militants are finding it difficult to infiltrate and in frustration they create some incident on the LoC. “Because of our coordinated, multi-tier counter infiltration grid, they are not able to get through in the numbers they want to. Quite often they are trying to create some incident very close to the LoC and several times they have run back after firing a few shots or throwing an IED etc”, he added.
Despite their (militants) best efforts, Lt General Dua said militants fail to infiltrate. “There have been encounters in the forests for week or 10 days. We have also some soldiers who have been martyred. That shows, they are there, they are trying their best and as you see they are not succeeding very much. The numbers in the hinter land are low and the infiltration is not happening at all. So it the frustrations that are coming out”, he said.

The GOC said that majority of the infiltration attempts have been foiled and in some cases they have run back after facing resistance. “There has been rise in the infiltration attempts and most of them have been foiled at the LoC itself. They (militants) have either run back and in couple of cases, you saw in Nowshera Nar in Gurez sector, 5 of them were killed just inside the LoC”, he said.

Lt General Dua said as they fail to infiltrate, they are resorting to local recruitment by luring the youth into militancy which is a serious concern. “Seeing that infiltration is not taking place, seeing that their numbers are dwindling, they are now resorting to new tactic of trying to recruit the youth locally. The young boys are lured by various means to recruit them but they are not ex-filtrated outside. The recruitment of locals is a serious concern for us”, he added.

The GOC said that the new recruits are not well trained and they just get weapon handling training. “They have not gone across for training. They are not trained very well. They just pick up some on job training and rest of it they try and pick up from internet. But most of what you see is hype created on social media where the numbers you heard 59 have been recruited and 7 have come back and there are 52 now. But it is more of a hype that is created on social media than these boys, misguided youth being hardened militants as yet”, he added.

Lt General Dua said that militants use social media to get attention which they used to do in the past by resorting to violence. “In old days to grab media attention terrorists created acts of violence, anywhere, every country. Nowadays, they don’t have to create act of violence. If he loads a catchy video on you-tube, you yourself will pick that up and run it in the evening. So it is very low cost option and they are using it. I hope media will play a constructive role and will not run these videos unnecessarily”, he hoped.

The Corps Commander said that Army is trying to engage the youth in many ways so that they may not fall into the hands of militants. “We are present in all the remote areas and we have resources to organize such things. We have funds allocated for such activities. So we use our organizational resources. We use our resources to reach in remote areas and we try and give positive direction to the youth. The events of today are certainly engagement of youth. However, we are also doing other things. We are conducting medical camps, veterinary camps, we are giving swing machines, carpentry tools etc”, he said.

The GOC said that State is also engaging the youth. “Engagement of the youth is important part not only with Army but State is also doing it. All organs of the Government are doing it. We are also playing a part in it”, he added.

Lt General Dua said that Army is working for the national integration of the youth. “We don’t want them to go astray. We are doing national integration. We are engaging them. We are sending some 40 students for studies outside the State as part of this engagement”, he added.

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