SRINAGAR: Dormant routes have been used by the Pakistani army to infiltrate nearly 60 terrorists since the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, officials said on Tuesday.
This assessment comes amid intelligence inputs that there has been a surge in infiltration from across the border through higher reaches north Kashmir and Poonch and Rajouri of Jammu region, they said.
There was, however, no official word from the army on the crossing of militants from across the border.
During a recent meeting to ascertain the number of successful and unsuccessful infiltration bids along the Line of Control, the army representative was presented with host of evidence collected by various agencies about infiltration by terrorists from higher reaches of Gurez, Machil and Gulmarg sectors of Kashmir region and Poonch and Rajouri areas in Jammu region, the officials said.
Director-General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbagh Singh had earlier said that several infiltration bids have taken place at the Line of Control and a majority of them have been foiled.
He had not ruled out the possibility that some may have crossed over and said the matter was being looked into.
The higher reaches of Gulmarg, a portion of which is under the command of Srinagar-based XV corps and another under Nagrota (Jammu)-based XVI corps, was used in early 1990s for infiltration into central Kashmir.
In 2014, the army was caught by surprise when a militant Naveed, arrested after a suicide bid on a BSF vehicle at Udhampur, told interrogators that they had crossed over from 'Ustad Post' in higher reaches of Gulmarg and reached Kashmir valley.
However, now it seems that the same route has been used to enter the valley, the officials said, adding some of these members had been sighted in various parts of Budgam and Pulwama in South Kashmir.
The officials said a group of terrorists shifted to Baba Reshi area before moving via Pakherpora to highly-volatile Pulwama district, where they have set up their permanent base.
Another group has moved into the central district of Budgam, the officials said.
They also said a group infiltrated from Gurez, Machil, Tangdhar sectors under the cover of heavy artillery firing.
This infiltration could be realised by the security agencies when new faces started emerging in Ganderbal area, an adjoining district of Srinagar.
Another cause of worry for security agencies is an axis along the Poonch area in Jammu region where small groups managed to sneak in and reach Shopian in South Kashmir.
They could have possibly used Hill Kaka route to enter into Shopian, the officials said.
This route was famous during early 2000 but was not used after 2003 when army carried out a botched-up operation 'Sarp Vinash', they said.
Majority of terrorists even at that time had managed to sneak in to various parts of South Kashmir.
However, after gaining the control of the mountain, the army had fortified its presence in the area.
The security agencies have been passing on regular instructions for carrying out search operations for these new terrorists and ensuring proper barricading of roads.
The terrorists have also used Lama area in Rajouri to enter the state and use mountainous terrains to gain access into the Kashmir valley's militancy-hit area of South Kashmir, the officials said.