‘Nearly 2 dozen Jaish militants enter Kashmir through Pir Panjal’

What could be termed as a major worry for counter-insurgency grid, a fresh group of nearly two dozen Jaish-e-Muhammad militants has infiltrated into Kashmir Valley from across the Line of Control via Pir Panjal mountains, top local and security sources told Kashmir Dispatch.

The infiltrators have divided themselves into sub-groups and have settled in Tral, Shupian and Pulwom clusters of south Kashmir and have already began their operations, the sources revealed. The newly infiltrated militants are believed to be heavily armed and well trained.

A senior police officer in south Kashmir confirmed to Kashmir Dispatch the presence of 11 new Jaish militants in Pulwom. He said: “As per our information, new group of 10-11 Jaish militants is currently operating in Pulwom,” he said.

Sources told Kashmir Dispatch that nearly 7-8 militants of the new Jaish group have settled themselves in Tral cluster. When a senior police officer overlooking Auentpur police district was contacted by Kashmir Dispatch, he said: “I cannot say whether new group has entered Tral or not, but the recent militant attacks surely have involvement of Jaish”.

The biggest worry of the security agencies right now is 17th Ramzan, the anniversary of Islam’s Battle of Badr, which falls on Saturday this week. The security grid apprehends large-scale militant strikes, though symbolic in nature, on Badr anniversary . Last year too, the militants carried out series of attacks from south to north Kashmir on Badr anniversary. All the attacks then were claimed by Jaish-e-Muhammad.

It may be mentioned here that a unilateral ceasefire announced by government of India in Jammu and Kashmir for 30-day period of Ramzan seems to have no takers on ground from militant side despite Pakistan-based United Jihad Council welcoming the initiative yesterday.

The militants operating in Kashmir, particularly in southern districts, did not cease their attacks on government forces despite the ceasefire announcement. While these attacks largely did not hurt government forces but on two occasions, the army suffered damage.

A soldier was killed early this week after militants attacked an army camp in Kakapora area of Pulwom district. One civilian was also dead during the exchange of fire. In another incident, three army men suffered injuries after an IED planted by militants blew off their powerful CASPER armoured vehicle near Heff Shermal villages of Shopian district.

Almost all the attacks so far have been claimed by Jaish-e-Muhammad outfit which has made a deadly comeback on Kashmir militant scene in 2017. The weapon snatching incidents and armed bank heists also gained pace since the beginning of Ramzan.