Srinagar/New Delhi: As many as 18 “highly trained” militants crossed the Line of Control and infiltrated into the Kashmir Valley in April this year, and of them three were shot dead, according to government agencies.
Though the army disputed the figure at a recent multi-agency meeting, official sources said 18 militants had entered the Valley through Kupwara area of north Kashmir. The army, however, claimed only 10 had infiltrated.
During the meeting, the army’s claim was countered through technical intelligence available with the Defence Intelligence Agency and other New Delhi-based government agencies.
The first batch of around 12 militants was reported to have entered the Kashmir Valley through Dardpora village located along the LoC on April 12. Six other militants were reported to have infiltrated from Lolab side around April 17.
Of the 10 militants the army claimed had infiltrated, three were gunned down in Putshai area of Lolab in Kupwara district on April 21, the sources said.
They said the army had been handed over some “tell-tale signs” which included different radio wave signals and foot prints of Kupwara and Lolab infiltration which were also different in size.
All government agencies were unanimous about infiltration from Jammu side where they claimed militants made three infiltration bids which were foiled by troops.
One of the reasons cited by the sources for spurt in infiltration is the realignment of troops along the LoC as some army personnel have been pushed back into counter insurgency grid, which is a conglomeration of army, paramilitary and state police engaged in neutralising militants on the plains and in densely-populated areas. According to the sources, the militants who infiltrated recently, have already gone to higher reaches of Bandipora from where they have moved towards central and south Kashmir.
Congress MLA from north Kashmir’s Bandipora Usman Majid told PTI that he had been flagging the issue of infiltration with various authorities.
“They generally use Bandipora as a transit camp and move to other areas,” he said.
The MLA quoted villagers in his constituency as saying that new faces in smaller groups had been seen in the area and it was “most likely” that they were militants who had infiltrated recently.
During winter, infiltration is always low. However, this year, winter did not last long and militants are suspected to have taken advantage of the favourable weather conditions, sources said.
There were 121 infiltration attempts along the border in Jammu and Kashmir in entire 2015 of which 33 were successful.
However, 46 militants were killed by government forces.
In 2014, there were 222 infiltration attempts in the state of which 65 were successful. A total of 52 militants were killed by the government forces that year.