TANGMARG: Army today said the counter-infiltration grid along the Line of Control (LoC) has been made strengthened and intelligence coordination between various agencies improved to curb attempts by militants to infiltrate into Kashmir.
"We have made our counter-infiltration grid much more robust. First of all, it has evolved over the years and secondly, we have made some changes this year. We have improved the coordination with regard to intelligence. The surveillance grid has also been made pretty deft and smartened enough to be sure that we do not miss anything.
"Also, we have made some changes in the troop deployment – to put added tiers, to take advantage where the terrain is offering. So far, it is working very well. By all estimates, it has been zero infiltration and I hope it works like that. And actually it is the hard work of the soldiers on the ground," General Officer Commanding of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha told reporters here.
Saha said there has been an increase in the intensity of infiltration attempts from across the LoC this year.
"There is an increase in the intensity of infiltration attempts. Since May 27 till now, there have been 11 attempts. 19 terrorists have been eliminated trying to infiltrate. And apart from that the number of reconnaissance also is quite a bit," he said.
The army commander said militants using social media, to encourage youth to join their ranks, is a new dimension, but there hasn't been an abrupt increase in their numbers.
"This social media picture is a new dimension. It gets picked by electronic media from where print media picks it up and in that process it is getting a spin, a hype much more than the reality. People had said that the recruitment would increase because of this, but nothing like that has happened. The figures are similar to last year," he said.
Lt Gen Saha said though many youth had joined the militant ranks, some of them had returned which was a positive sign.
"In 2015, till now, as per our reports, the recruitment is somewhere between 30-40. It is almost comparable to 2014 when 64 youngsters were recruited. But then it is much higher than 2012 and 2013. So, it is certainly an area of concern.
"While I agree and highlight (recruitments have taken place), equally important is the fact that as many as 38 boys, who had joined, have also come back. And that coming back is, I think, a very positive sign," he said.
The army commander credited the parents of such youth for their return.
"Their parents are informing us almost immediately when their child goes missing. A lot of credit goes to Jammu and Kashmir police which is working very hard on this and whatever help they need from the army, we are also rendering," Saha said.
He said any youth joining militancy is a cause of concern and it was a collective responsibility of all the agencies to provide them opportunities to engage them.
"Obviously, all the agencies have to be conscious of it and it is a collective responsibility for us to be sure that correct opportunities are provided to the youth, whether it is in terms of education, employment, empowerment and engagement for the positive orientation. The talent that is there in Kashmir is phenomenal. All that is required is opportunity," he said.
Lt Gen Saha said the only way we are going to keep people away from this "so-called glamorisation" is to firstly keep them very nicely engaged.
"In 2014-15, we have had 79 sports leagues in different parts of Kashmir. Thousands of players have participated and tens of thousands have watched as spectators. So these are engagement initiatives. Then there are specific empowerment initiatives, capacity building initiatives in terms of taking them on very focused tours.
"Then there is employment. From the army's side, we have put in a lot of efforts specially post floods. Between September and December, 776 people were recruited into the army. This year, 4800 plus in Territorial Army and likewise 200-300 have joined the regular army," he said.