New Delhi: Several districts have started witnessing encounters and also recovery of arms, ammunition, hawala money for funding terrorism and cross-LOC narcotics trade.
The surge in infiltration attempts by terrorists from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POK) through the Line of Control (LOC) in the Jammu division indicates that Pakistan is trying to revive terrorism in the Muslim dominated Rajouri and Poonch districts that have remained peaceful for the past about 18 years after the Indian Army’s Operation Sarapvinash in which several terrorists were killed and their hideouts destroyed.
The two districts have started witnessing encounters and also recovery of arms, ammunition, hawala money for funding terrorism and cross-LOC narcotics trade.
Not only Pakistani agencies but the Kashmir based terrorist commanders seem hell-bent to revive terrorism in Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar districts of Jammu that have by and large remained peaceful for the past few years. These districts witnessed several major terror strikes in 12 years between 1990 to 2002 but the situation was brought under control after the elimination of many local militant commanders.
The Rajouri district that touches Jammu has witnessed five encounters between the security forces and terrorists during the past three months in which seven terrorists and three soldiers were killed. One of these encounters stretched for more than three days as terrorists had taken shelter in the forest area. Besides, five terrorists were killed at the LOC in the Poonch district while trying to infiltrate from POJK.
Terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and their splinter groups have been killed or were reportedly making infiltration attempts in the two districts.
The encounter that started on September 12 in the Thanamandi forests of Rajouri was continuing on September 13 with one terrorist killed and a soldier injured. The Army was moving ahead cautiously as it is suspected that the freshly infiltrated group of terrorists might have laid traps in the area.
The Moughal Road that was built to provide direct access to Rajouri and Poonch with the Kashmir valley is now becoming convenient for terrorists to move between the two regions. A group of terrorists that had infiltrated from POJK was some time back intercepted on this road and an encounter ensued. The road was built by the government despite security concerns of the armed forces and the forest department as several natural habitats of animals have been slit while construction of the road link.
Terrorists who tossed a grenade at the residence of a BJP leader in the Rajouri town on August 13 killing a 2-years old child and injuring seven family members have not yet been traced. Sunderbani in Rajouri has also become a hotspot as three terrorists and two soldiers were killed in an encounter on July 9. A day earlier on July 8 and August 19, two terrorists were killed in Thanamandi.
During a search operation in a forward village of Poonch, the security forces recovered four sticky bombs that can be tagged with vehicles to explode later. In a major recovery, hawala money amounting to Rs 25.81 lakhs was recovered by the police on August 10 in Poonch. Several fresh recruits and over ground workers (OGWs) of various terrorist outfits have been nabbed by the security forces in the past few days.
The Army and J&K Police in joint raids in Rajouri and Poonch districts on 8 September in two separate raids recovered cash amounting to Rs.1.64 crores related to the cross-LOC narcotics trade, pistols and Chinese grenades. Three persons have been arrested, while one was absconding.