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Jammu & Kashmir: Eight-fold surge in terror infiltrations across LoC

It’s been a tough year for Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir, as they have been battling an eight-time jump in terrorist infiltrations. Apart from this shocking statistic, officials say that the rising number of cases of arson by raging mobs suggests a rise in local recruitment this year.

According to officials, the good news is that ‘surgical strikes’ have brought cheer at a time when infiltration is at an all-time high with 87 cases reported this year, while the tally last year was 10.

“Ceasefire violations have taken place in hundreds for the last five-six years… The only difference is that if they do it now, we give a befitting reply,” said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at an event in Ahmedabad on Monday.

However, officials warn that the situation is only going to get worse from here with Pakistan-based terrorists planning retaliation. According to ground intelligence and intercepts, more men have been pumped in by terror groups to strike at Indian forces.

This has kept the forces on its toes with the terrorists kills also doubling. Sources said with more infiltration, even the numbers of kills have increased. Last year, in the corresponding period, around 70 terrorists were gunned down, while the tally this year has reached 128. While the Army has killed 120 terrorists, the other operations were carried out by local police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Clearly, the surgical strikes destroying terror launchpads have not deterred Pakistani-based terrorists from planning more strikes. “The infiltration attempts are still continuing,” said a government official.

Sources said a number of infiltrations have occurred along the LoC and it seems the terrorists are going back to the old routes used for penetrating into Indian territory. In 2013 and 2014, there had been increased infiltration from new routes along the International Border (IB).

The assessment of infiltrations increasing is based on ground intelligence from civilians, intercepts and evidence of fence-cutting in some areas.

The recent trend of the increasing cases of arson has been a cause of worry for the forces. Around 100 arms were looted by raging mobs protesting against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen local commander Burhan Wani.

Sources said this is also an indication that local terrorist recruitment is happening as arms are needed for them.

Since Wani’s killing in July, mass protests triggered turmoil in the state with over 80 deaths and thousands wounded over the last three months. Army sources said that since then operations in South Kashmir have taken a hit.

Intelligence inputs also indicate that after India’s surgical strikes, the Pakistani Army has carried out “precautionary deployment” all along the LoC, as they fear another round of strikes from Indian forces.

“Soon after our raids, they have increased deployment in areas they consider vulnerable. Precautionary deployment is roughly 25 percent of a full mobilisation aimed to plug the gaps,” said an intelligence officer.

Fears of local recruitment by Pakistan-based terror groups, has also alarmed security forces. It is estimated that around 100 youths have gone missing in the last three months.

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