Infiltration resumed as 250 to 300 ‘terrorists’ waiting at launch pads in Pakistan: DGP
Says 57 J&K youths went to Pakistan on valid documents for studies, tourist visas ended up joining militancy
Jammu: After initial ‘zero infiltration’ in the wake of renewed ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan in February, “fresh attempts are on to push terrorists from across the border where 250 to 300 terrorists are trained and waiting on the launch pads”, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said on Tuesday.
He also said that 57 cases have come to their notice where the local youth who had gone to Pakistan on valid documents for studies or tourist visas “ended up becoming terrorists”.
“The training camps and launch pads being run by Pakistan’s ISI and other agencies are full to their capacity. We generally assume the number of terrorists at such camps remains between 250 and 300 who are trained and ready for launching into Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh told reporters in the border district of Rajouri.
He said in the wake of February 20 ceasefire agreement reached between India and Pakistan, a period came when the infiltration from across the border dropped to zero and the cross-border shelling and firing also stopped completely which was welcomed at all levels, including by the border residents.
“Unfortunately, the infiltration (of terrorists) from different launch pads has started once again over the past some time. We had three encounters in Rajouri-Poonch, including Dadal in Nowshera, Sunderbani and the recent Pangai (Thanamandi) and one in Bandipora. All these were fresh groups of infiltrators and we have information that the activity across the border is still on and there is a possibility of more such attempts (in future),” the police chief said.
However, he said the security forces are fully alert to the threat and as “impure actions (of Pakistan) is continuing, our border grid is working satisfactorily” which led to the foiling of four infiltration attempts since July.
The DGP said “four terrorists who had infiltrated from Machil-Gurez sector of north Kashmir were eliminated in Bandipora on July 23-24.
“They were launched from the Kail sector of Pakistan and as per our information, there were 14 more people when they were launched into this side,” Singh said.
He said three to four groups crossed from Pakistan into Rajouri-Poonch sector and a joint search operation is on to track down the infiltrators who managed to flee the three encounters in July and August.
“As per our assessment, three to four groups crossed into this side and some of them were neutralised in the first two contacts (in Nowshera and Sunderbani in July). Two more terrorists were eliminated in the latest encounter (in Thanamandi) on Friday last, while the search is on for two others who are believed part of the group,” he said.
He said there is a possibility of one more group which has managed to sneak into this side (Rajouri) and is believed to have either crossed into Shopian district of south Kashmir or still holed up in the region. The operation to track them down is on.
The DGP said a family from Shopian claimed that one of the two militants killed in Thanamandi was their son Rameez Ahmad who had gone to Pakistan some time back.
“We have taken the DNA sample and the things will get cleared once the report is received,” he said.
Singh said the infiltrating group comprised both local and Pakistani militants.
“In the Bandipora encounter, two each local and Pakistani terrorists were killed,” the police chief said.
Expressing concern over the local youth going to Pakistan on student or tourist visits and ending up becoming terrorists, the DGP said “I think guns are given preference over pens in Pakistan and therefore, there is a need to strengthen our measures to give security clearance for Pakistani visas.”
“Many youths went to Pakistan on valid documents pertaining to student or tourist visas in 2017-18. We have come across 57 cases of such youth who got involved in terror activities and 17 of them were killed in encounters after infiltrating through the border,” he said.
Singh said they have gone there on valid passports but came back illegally after crossing the border along with arms after undergoing training there.
“There are still 13 more such youths who have been identified and are active terrorists.” The police chief said 17 more are still in Pakistan and “we are watching their activities”.
“There was a talk about why strictness was imposed on travel to Pakistan…This is the main reason for it. What type of atmosphere they come across in Pakistan and they become terrorists. It is evident we need to take strict measures and strengthen the security clearance system before giving student visas,” he said.