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Jammu and Kashmir fears terror strike on eve of Obama trip


Jammu : Fearing a major terror attack ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India early next month, a security strategy will be chalked out in Jammu and Kashmir, an official said.

The Unified Command, which is the state’s highest decision making agency on security, will meet in the next couple of days to chalk out strategy to tackle any terror threat as there are concerns that terrorists might be planning a big strike in the coming days, official sources said.

These security concerns have multiplied in the light of Obama’s India trip. It is feared that terrorists might attempt to do something spectacular in Jammu and Kashmir to hit international headlines ahead of the visit.

“In order to decide a strategy to thwart terrorists’ plans, we will hold a meeting of the Unified Command,” a senior officer who is its member told IANS.

The Unified Command has representatives from the army, police, paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies.

One of the factors that added to the security concerns was the presence of Pakistani terrorists in the neighbourhood of Srinagar Thursday. Two of them were killed in a fierce gunbattle with security forces. The third, a local from the state, was caught alive.

“This is an alarming signal for the security forces,” the officer said.

Terrorists have always struck in a major way within the state ahead of any significant, high-profile visit, particularly from the US, so as to grab international headlines. The Chitisinghpora massacre was carried out in April 2008 just ahead of then president Bill Clinton’s maiden India visit.

The Unified Command will take a close look at the security scenario across the state, the presence of terrorists within Jammu and Kashmir and their concentration at launching pads across the Line of Control that divides this Himalayan state between India and Pakistan, sources said.

They would also look into separatists’ strategy to summon people to streets and the manner in which supporters of various terror outfits were working, the sources said.

“At present, there are about 500 active militants in the state, and there also is need for us to step up vigil in the border areas as the threat of infiltration persists,” Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda told reporters in Srinagar Thursday.

Indian Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh has maintained that 42 terror camps are operational in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir has been battling what the security forces call Pakistan sponsored terrorism for the past over 20 years. More than 50,000 people, at least 20,000 of them terrorists, have been killed during this period.