In the recent past, the Jammu region has witnessed an increase in terror activities. Five Army personnel, including two captains of special forces, were killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district. During the gunfire, two terrorists, including a Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, were also killed. The official data confirms that eight grenade and 13 improvised explosive device attacks were recorded in the Jammu region in the recent past. In April-May this year, Poonch and Rajouri border districts witnessed two ambushes claiming the lives of 10 soldiers in a spurt in terrorist activity. In 2023 alone, at least 120 people, including more than 80 terrorists and over 25 security personnel, have been killed in militancy-related violence in J&K.
Tehelka Cover Story – The Terror Returns by Special Correspondent Riyaz Wani explains how the UT’s Jammu region has turned into a new hotbed of militancy as ultras have retreated into dense forests, with Pir Panjal forest in Jammu and Kashmir becoming a new headache for security forces due to a string of encounters in recent years. However, overall, violence has been on the decline in recent years, nevertheless, stricter action is required to further bring down the numbers and create conditions conducive for resuming the electoral process.
The message is loud and clear: Pakistan’s terror designs remain firmly in place. Infiltration of highly trained foreign terrorists into the ranks of militants in Jammu and Kashmir is all the more a matter of serious concern. It is a fact that local recruitment is not happening now. Several foreign trained terrorists have reportedly entered the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch to step up the ante. Reports of Pakistan army sending in retired personnel across the border leave no scope for any let-up in the state of alertness for India. The 31-hour encounter in Rajouri recently where a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander and his associate were gunned down, while the Army suffered five casualties, including two Captains, points to the complex situation.
There is no denying the fact that casualties among the police and the security forces in terror attacks actually marked a decrease of 13 per cent as 29 personnel lost their lives and 32 others were injured in various attacks post the abrogation Article 370, the figures stood at 33 deaths and 42 injuries prior to this during the same period, states the official data. There has been only one weapon snatching, 19 stone-pelting and 16 hartal and bandh calls — showing 80 per cent, 62 per cent and 42 per cent decline, respectively, compared to the period of nearly four years prior to the abrogation of Article 370, it reveals. Yet there still is dire need to strengthen the oft-quoted ‘360-degree security mechanism’ in the Jammu division to eliminate the terrorists’ support system.