New Delhi, July 30: The cooling of temperatures between India and Pakistan since Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s renewed bid to extend the hand of friendship to President Pervez Musharraf has made little difference on the ground situation in Kashmir, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.
“While last week there were two ugly terrorist incidents in Katra and Tanda respectively, overall there has not been any significant change in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir in the past two months, in comparison with the preceding two months as well as the corresponding period last year,” minister of state for home Swami Chinmayanand said in a written reply to Congress members K. Natwar Singh and T.S. Reddy.
The figures provided by the government are post-April, after Vajpayee’s peace overtures were announced from Srinagar in April. In March-April this year, there were 519 terrorist strikes, between May and June the number went up to 597, but lower than the corresponding period in 2002, when there were 681 incidents.
Civilians killed in Kashmir this year, including members of the village defence committees and special police officers, were 154 in March-April this year, as against 157 in May-June.
In 2002, 190 civilians were killed in militant attacks between May and June. The figures for security personnel killed between March and April 2003 were 48, which went up to 58 in May-June. Last year, 59 security personnel were killed in May-June. Security forces killed 269 terrorists between May and June last year, while the number for the same period this year was 253. Between March-April this year, 241 terrorists were killed.
The government claims its multi-pronged strategy to contain cross-border terrorism has been to step up vigil in the border with “multi-tier and multi-model” deployment along the international border and the Line of Control and near the ever-changing infiltration routes. The strategy covers pro-active action against militants within the state, including operations in remote hilly and forest areas.
The government also claims to have geared up its intelligence machinery for greater functional integration through an institutional framework of operation and intelligence groups at all levels.
“The strategies, tactics and dynamic security forces deployment to counter terrorists are constantly reviewed, refined and monitored at various levels in the state and central government, including the unified headquarters at Jammu and Srinagar,” Chinmayanand said.