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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

J&K top cop sees Pakistan hand: PM Modi reviews terror surge before leaving for Italy

R.R Swain on Thursday broke his silence on the attacks and visited Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, where he chaired a meeting to review security arrangements in Reasi district

Muzaffar Raina And Imran Ahmed Siddiqui Srinagar Published 14.06.24, 05:02 AM
A soldier near the site of the encounter between security forces and militants at Saida Sukhal village in the Hiranagar sector of Kathua district on Wednesday.

A soldier near the site of the encounter between security forces and militants at Saida Sukhal village in the Hiranagar sector of Kathua district on Wednesday. PTI picture.

Jammu and Kashmir director-general of police R.R. Swain on Thursday said the administration faced a security challenge with Pakistan intent on pushing in militants to destabilise the region and create fear, his views appearing to contrast the rosy picture painted by the country’s top leadership.

Swain's comments have coincided with a surge in militant attacks in Jammu, which has left nine civilians, a CRPF jawan and two militants dead and dozens injured.

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The security forces remained busy with anti-militancy operations in different parts of Jammu for the fifth consecutive day. The militancy scare reached Jammu city on Thursday with the police launching a search in Narwal following an alarm raised by a woman.

Swain on Thursday broke his silence on the attacks and visited Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, where he chaired a meeting to review security arrangements in Reasi district. Nine pilgrims were killed and dozens were injured in an attack there on Sunday.

“There is a security challenge; we cannot deny it,” the police chief told reporters.

“It’s root, starting point, roots, is across (the border). There is a clear intent of the adversary, the enemy, that if somehow they cannot recruit people here, cannot incite people or cause riots in Kashmir, the intent is to push (in) their own men, people of Pakistan."

The police chief said Pakistan was taking advantage of the difficult terrain on the LoC to push in militants, particularly into Jammu, to destabilise the region and create fear.

“There is certainly an effort (by) the enemy. This is the truth,” he said.

The country’s top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah, had throughout the election campaign suggested that Pakistan had been brought to its knees and was unable to cause any harm.

Last month, Modi told an election gathering that when there is a “dhaakad (formidable)” government in the country, its enemies “tremble”.

“Pakistan had been troubling India for 70 years, it had bombs in its hands. Today it has bheekh ka katora (a begging bowl) in its hands. When there is a dhaakad government, enemies tremble,” Modi had said.

Shah, at an election rally in Jammu in April, said Modi had restored peace to Jammu and Kashmir and put the region on the path of development.

“Jammu and Kashmir was lagging behind for 70 years. There were agitations, terrorism continued and development stopped. Narendra Modiji stopped hartals, stone-throwing and ended terrorism,” he had said.

Swain suggested the enemy was trying to recreate the situation that prevailed during 1995-2005 in Jammu but the administration was ready to face the challenge.

That decade had witnessed massive militant violence but the support of local people helped the government turn the tide against the militancy. That peace had remained largely intact until the 2019 scrapping of the special status.

“If the enemy is putting up a similar challenge before us, we are firm that we will give a befitting reply. Although they don’t have the numbers, we will kill them one by one. We will reduce their life span after entering here,” Swain said.

The police chief said the militants were receiving occasional support from some local people and warned of tough action.

“The enemy agents are doing it for money and narcotics. They will be identified and dealt with sternly,” he said.

Valley politicians protested against the arrest of innocents during anti-militancy operations.

“‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’. This incompetent J&K administration only knows how to arrest, detain & harass people. They repeatedly make the same mistakes & still hope for a different outcome. To end militancy you need the local population on your side, not alienated & angry,” former chief minister Omar Abdullah posted on X.

PM review

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a review meeting on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir before leaving for Italy to attend the G7 Summit.

Sources said Modi was apprised of the counter-terror efforts being undertaken in the Union Territory during the meeting, which was attended by national security adviser Ajit Doval and other security officials.

“The Prime Minister was given a full overview of the security-related situation in Jammu and Kashmir and was also briefed on the efforts being undertaken by the local administration. Modi directed the top security officials to deploy the full spectrum of India’s counter-terror capabilities to tackle the situation,” a Union home ministry official said.

Modi also spoke to home minister Shah and discussed the deployment of security forces and counter-terror operations, the official said. He also spoke to Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha and took stock of the situation in the region.

Security forces have been engaged in multiple anti-militancy operations in Jammu since Wednesday after twin militant attacks and subsequent gunfights on Tuesday night left a CRPF jawan and two militants dead and six jawans and a civilian injured.

Hours later, two senior police officers escaped unhurt after a militant attacked their convoy. Militants fired and injured another cop from the special operations group of the police on Wednesday — the fourth attack in Jammu since Sunday when a bus filled with pilgrims was attacked in Reasi district, leaving nine civilians dead and 33 injured.

So far Modi has not officially reacted to these incidents.

According to Union home ministry records, 115 civilians and 135 security personnel were killed in militant attacks in Jammu and Kashmir from January 2020 to January 2023.

The death toll between 2011 and 2013, the three years before the Modi government came to power in 2014, was 57 civilians and 124 soldiers.

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