Four new camps have been reportedly set up in the restive Shopian district by the anti insurgency force Rashtriya Rifles (RR) during the past 30 days. Four army camps have been established during the past one month with three camps surfacing in a span of ten days.
With new camp at coming up at Dashoo Chitragam Kalan, it is a fifth army camp that has been set up in Shopian district in less than a year’s time.
Notably, the decision to establish new camps at Shopian has come after a spate of attacks by suspected militants on government forces. During the past few months militants have stepped up their attacks on security forces including the army.
On August 3rd, three army men including an officer died in a militant attack.
“The army has initiated slew of measures to strengthen security grid in the entire South Kashmir belt. One of the reasons is that several videos have gone viral on social media which give an impression that militants are roaming free in the entire belt. We wish to negate this hype that has been created deliberately,” said a security official, wishing not to be named.
Reports said that army’s RR has been tasked the job of ensuring a strict security network in place in the entire South Kashmir.
Pertinently, the first camp that came up in Shopian after the summer agitation of 2016 was set up at Pahnoo village on a piece of land owned by SKUAST University.
At Pahnoo village army continues to occupy about four kanals of SKUAST University land that it took over during the 2016 uprising. The army has not vacated the land yet despite assuring SKUAST that they will vacate the land by April 2017.
Another camp was re-established after 10 years in Nagisheran village of Shopian district on July 21, this year.
“Ten years before the army camp was operating from the premises of a private school,” villagers said.
“The army has now occupied more land around it and is now functioning in a building belonging to the Public Health Engineering (PHE), department,” locals added.
Third new camp has come up in Dhobipora village of Nagbal area. The camp was stationed just few days back.
Locals said that the army unit has occupied a vacant primary school building and a play field.
The locals said that the primary school building fell vacant after the school was combined with Middle school post rationalization order issued by the School education department.
As per reports the fourth new camp has come up in Chilipora village of Zainapora tehsil during the last week.
Chilipora village is just half a kilometre away from Heff village, which is known as the hot bed of militants as four militants including two district commanders, Waseem Shah of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Sadam Paddar of Hizbul-Mujahideen are active at present from the same village.
Malnadsugan, native village of operational commander Lashkar-e-Toiba Zeenat ul Islam is just half a kilometer away from the camp.
Locals said that Army camp has came up on a piece of a land belonging to a migrant Kashmiri Pandit.
SSP, Shopian, S A Dinkar, when asked about the development said that it is the decision of the army higher ups to establish their camps in the area.
“If you wish to know why these camps were setup it will be better if you talk to them and get their views on this,” he added.