Army not to quit Law and Order duties in Jammu and Kashmir

An official said the fidayeen attack in Uri is directly linked to the ongoing unrest in the Valley.

Published: 20th September 2016 03:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th September 2016 03:21 AM   |  A+A-

Kashmir downtown 1

CRPF personnel man every street corner in downtown Srinagar, the epicenter of the current protests in Kashmir valley. (EPS | Vikram Sharma)

SRINAGAR: Linking Sunday’s militant attack on its base in Uri with the ongoing unrest in Kashmir, the Army on Monday said soldiers won’t be recalled from law and order duty in the Valley and an investigation has been launched to ascertain how militants got inside information about the base and how they infiltrated from across the Line of Control.

“The forces have been brought to Kashmir with something in mind. One incident (militant attack on Army base in Uri) will not make us change our strategy. We are here primarily for the people. We have launched ‘Operation Calm Down’ to help restore confidence among people and not allow militants to move freely and start addressing rallies as was happening,” a senior Army official told Express.

The official said the fidayeen attack in Uri is directly linked to the ongoing unrest in the Valley. “There is definitely a link with the overall situation in Kashmir. There is no denying the fact that the attack was abetted by Pakistan,” he said, adding, “People (militants) are coming from the point where the Pakistan army is deployed. It means there is no check on the movement of militants and there is support for them.”

“Pakistan would like to tell people of Kashmir that we support you. It (Pakistan) would tell them that we have carried out the attack as a mark of solidarity for you and you continue the agitation,” the official said and added that the Army has launched a probe into how the militants managed to infiltrate the base. “We are also probing how they had got information that there were tents and shelters inside the base and in the early hours there is a change of command and soldiers were in temporary shelters,” he said.

The official said either the militants had got the information from satellite imagery or it was provided to them by the locals. “A large numbers of civilians visit the base everyday and there is a possibility that they could have provided the information to the militants,” he said.

The official, however, ruled out the theory  that Army men from the base leaked information to the militants. Asked whether the militants had infiltrated a few days ago ahead of launching the attack, he said, “It can or can’t be. There is a possibility that they may have infiltrated only yesterday and launched the attack.” “There is also a possibility of them infiltrating some days back and getting inside information about the base from locals before launching the attack,” he said.

According to him, the attack was different as the militants who launched it and were subsequently killed in the gunfight were all wearing combat dresses and clean shaven. “Besides their haircut was similar to that of a soldier.”

Handwara police post attacked

Terrorists attacked a police post near Handwara on Monday, a day after the Uri attack, agencies reported. No casualties were reported in the attack. Handwara lies about 70 km northwest to Srinagar, near the Line of Control. Meanwhile, a 19-year-old girl died of cardiac arrest in South Kashmir’s Shopian district allegedly during clashes, taking the death toll of people killed in the ongoing unrest to 87.

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