Kashmir violence down, but threat of militancy exists: Indian Army


Udhampur : Charging Pakistan with providing logistics support to the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, a top Indian Army commander said Wednesday violence levels in the state had come down but the threat of militancy still existed.

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“Logistics support is being given to the militants by Pakistan. We are facing and fighting terrorists on daily basis, which means that threat is there,” Lt. Gen. P.C. Bharadwaj, the general officer commanding-in-chief of the army’s strategic Northern Command that guards India’s borders with Pakistan and China, told reporters at its headquarters here, 70 km from Jammu.

“The level of violence has come down and there are significant signs of normalcy,” but the militants were now “taking to the agitational approach of the people and to crimes linked to human rights violations to further their cause of disturbing the peace”, he maintained.

The army, however, was pursuing a policy of zero tolerance to human rights violations and “this year, there has been only one case of such a violation”, Bharadwaj said. The maximum violations – 1,790 – were reported way back in 1990, he added.

Noting that the “biggest challenge before the army in Jammu and Kashmir is to bring in peace, maintain it and put the state on path of development”, Bharadwaj estimated that 75 terrorists have so far sneaked in across the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan against 45 in the corresponding period last year.

Most of the infiltration bids had taken place from across the Kashmir Valley as “the barbed wire fence gets damaged due to heavy snow,” he said. Of the 72 terrorists who had infiltrated this year, 69 had come via that route, he added.

“Till August 9, 26 infiltration bids have been foiled and 57 terrorists killed,” Bharadwaj said.

However, infiltration was being attempted along the LOC and there have been 72 such bids – 69 from the Valley side and three from Jammu region, he said.

“Our troops have been successfully thwarting the infiltration attempts and also terrorist designs within Jammu and Kashmir,” Bhardwaj said, adding that there were some 650 terrorists active in the state.

There had been a change in the “operational efficacy” of the militants and an “upgradation in their quality” Bharadwaj said, adding that the terrorists were now equipped with high-tech gadgets like satellite phones and GPS systems.

He also pointed out that the terrorists have been avoiding direct contact with the security forces “which could be because of various reasons and also to conserve their dipping numbers”.

Instead, the militants were hitting “soft targets and are attempting to carry out high profile attacks”, the general said.