Situation in Kashmir Valley alarming: Army
Srinagar: Army on Tuesday said the situation in Kashmir Valley was alarming as militant handlers were desperately trying to strengthen their cadre base by way of infiltration and local recruitment besides planning to launch suicide attacks.
"It is an alarming situation...Some incidents have taken place like the shootouts at Pampore, Kulgam and Rajpora (in south Kashmir)," General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 corps Lt Gen Om Prakash told reporters here.
Lt Gen Prakash, who took over as GOC of the strategic Chinar Corps last month, said intelligence agencies in Kashmir have reported that militant handlers were directing the ultras to carry out suicide attacks on security forces.
"Intelligence agencies, as recently as a week ago, have reported that militants were planning to carry out Fidayeen (suicide) attacks and snatch the weapon of security forces," he said.
The army commander said 550 to 600 militants were waiting at various launch pads near the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to infiltrate into the valley.
"They are looking for chances to infiltrate and attempts are being made which we have foiled. However, we cannot guarantee zero infiltration but we will be able to counter their designs," he said.
In response to a question, he said militant outfits like Lashker-e-Toiba (LET) were trying to recruit local youths to strengthen their cadres in the Valley as part of their two pronged strategy.
Lt Gen Prakash also said the terror infrastructure in PoK and Pakistan was still intact.
"They (militant outfits) are recruiting local youths to give an indigenous face to terror in Kashmir. Since a lot of elimination (of militants) has taken place over the last year, they also need to look for replacements as counter- infiltration measures have made it difficult for ultras to sneak in," the Army commander said.
He said there were only 280 to 300 militants active in Kashmir Valley.
On the human rights front, Lt Gen Prakash said the Army has taken serious note of any violation of discipline and meted out exemplary punishment where the personnel have been found guilty.
"The action has been prompt and severe compared to what the guilty personnel will suffer in a civil court," he said.
The Army commander said the court martial in Pathribal and Machhil fake encounter cases will be held within the state.
Asked if the proceedings will be open to media, he said a decision will be taken when the trial begins.
On the recent incident of pushing back to PoK 19 members of three families of militants wanting to surrender in Uri last month, he said it was done in the best interest of these people who wanted to avail the benefits of the rehabilitation policy.
"There are three designated points for those who want to benefit from the rehabilitation policy. These people had come very close to the LoC and could have been harmed by Pakistani troops if allowed to cross in or they could have been harmed as there are mine fields along the LoC," he said.
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