Srinagar: In a sudden spurt in infiltration from across the Line of Control, over 70 terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based groups have entered Jammu and Kashmir in recent weeks, raising concern among the security agencies.
Highly-placed security sources said here that some 25 terrorists belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashker-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed crossed into the state during May. Thereafter, the number suddenly went up by 45 till July 10.
In a surprising move, the terrorists have started using infiltration routes from Uri and Nowgam sector in Kupwara of North Kashmir that was being used in the 1990s and early 2000 which have been hitherto lying dormant in the recent period, they said.
Moreover, there is a spurt in the frequency of infiltration attempts this year also. The week-on-week based comparison with last year`s data shows that while two attempts were made during this period in 2011, the sources said, this year the number has been 10.
Jammu and Kashmir Police is quite confident that it will arrest or kill the infiltrated terrorists before entering the capital and confine their movement to higher reaches of Lolab in North Kashmir or the dense forests of Kupwara.
According to the sources, nearly 300 terrorists were waiting at the launch pads to enter into J and K and the intelligence had been shared with the Army to block the terrorists at the Line of Control (LoC) itself.
While the Army has been maintaining that there were only few attempts to infiltrate with majority of them having been neutralised at the LoC itself, the sources said new terrorists had been spotted moving in Sopore in North Kashmir and Kulgam in South Kashmir.
Army sources in New Delhi had said there was no proposal to reduce troop deployment in the state as pressure needed to be maintained on the terrorists.
The sources said there were attempts made at LoC in the Mehandar sector of Jammu region which were always preceded by unprovoked firing from Pakistani Army, an apparent attempt to provide cover to the infiltrating groups.
Fresh infiltrators were engaged by security forces in forests of Rajwar and upper reaches of Zachaldar of Handwara district which are at the foot of Hafrudah forests where militants engaged troops regularly over years.
Karnah, where Chief Minister Omar Abdullah recently held a Cabinet meeting, has also witnessed infiltration this year and there were reports that a group of Hizbul Mujahedeen men have sneaked in from Gurez sector.
However, Army claims that it was an incident of ceasefire violation and not infiltration bid.
The sources said the recent encounters in Handwara and Uri of North Kashmir besides recovery of two bodies of terrorists under the snow, whose nationality was identified to be from PoK, substantiated claims of the state intelligence about infiltration.
Leaving nothing to chance, additional team of security personnel had been rushed to Handwara-Kupwara axis in North Kashmir to plug the infiltration route in higher reaches before they could mingle with the locals to escape notice.
A meeting on increased infiltration was held in the Union Home Ministry yesterday in which the Army was asked to tighten vigil along the LoC following intelligence inputs of more such bids in the coming days, the sources said.
While trying to downplay the infiltration, the Army officially confirmed neutralising six terrorists in July this year along the Handwara-Kupwara axis and claimed that rest of them had returned due to heavy firing by troops.
However, the Army in various coordination meetings was handed over intelligence inputs and tell-tale signs by various security agencies about sneaking of terrorists from various outfits into the Kashmir Valley.