Anantnag: Over a hundred platform trucks laden with heavy artillery were spotted making their way towards Srinagar along the Jammu-Srinagar highway Sunday afternoon, setting alarm bells ringing among the general public.
People have been filled with a sense of dread so heavy an artillery movement along the national highway, last witnessed during the Kargil war of 1999.
The trucks today were spotted on the Qazigund-Srinagar stretch of the highway on their way to Srinagar.
“The trucks moved maintaining a distance from each other. That however did not help to avoid inviting the attention of the local populace,” a shopkeeper in Bijbehara town told Kashmir Reader.
Furthermore, over of these huge trucks came to a grinding halt near the Saffron Karewas of Lethpora, in the wake of an ongoing gunfight in Panthachowk, giving the landscape a war-like appearance.
“I counted around sixty to seventy of these artillery-filled trucks stranded one after another, from Galandar to Lethpora area along NH,” a journalist who was travelling to Anantnag told Kashmir Reader.
Some other sources told Kashmir Reader that the movement of such trucks has been going on for a few days now, “But today’s cavalcade of the artillery trucks was huge,” they said.
A senior army officer laughed the matter off while talking to Kashmir Reader.
“The artillery is just being moved, and I do not think that’s something new,” the army official said.
He however did not comment on where the artillery was being moved from or where it was bound.
People say the movement of these trucks is absolutely reminiscent of 1999.
“I have witnessed the movement back in 1999 as well, sitting here at the same shop. Today’s movement of artillery was surely a grim reminder of the Kargil war,” a fruit vendor in Awantipora town of South Kashmir said.
A sense of the movement of artillery back in 1999 can be gauged from the fact that India fired 2,50,000 artillery shells during the duration of the war.
“Approximately 5,000 artillery shells, mortar bombs and rockets were fired daily from 300 guns, mortars and MBRLs while 9,000 shells were fired the day Tiger Hill was regained,” S D Goswami, the then defence spokesperson wrote in The Economic Times in July 2015.
Goswami in his write up puts emphasis on ‘artillery shelling’ being the cause of the comprehensive destruction of enemy defences and a highlight of ‘operation vijay’.
Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Rajesh Kalia also said that the ‘movement’ was part of the regular convoy, and there was nothing more to it.
“Such movement is not new. It does take place on and off,” Kalia told Kashmir Reader.