Jammu forests new terror hubs

65 people, including 36 security personnel, killed in Jammu region in over 30 months
Army troops continued their operation against militants hiding in the dense forests of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Army troops continued their operation against militants hiding in the dense forests of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir.File photo

SRINAGAR: Militants have been making concerted efforts from the last few years to shift their sphere of influence and activities beyond Kashmir to Jammu region. At least 65 persons, including 36 security men and 19 civilians have been killed in militant attacks and encounters in the Jammu region in last two and a half years.

The four militant attacks including attack on a pilgrim bus within span of four days in Jammu region last week is not a new phenomenon.

The militants have been making concerted effort to shift militancy beyond Kashmir and increase their sphere of influence in Jammu region comprising 10 districts.

They have carried out a series of attacks on security forces, especially the army in twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch. After carrying out the attacks and causing casualties among the security force personnel, the militants take refuge in the dense forest areas.

The dense forest areas of twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch have emerged as a new spot of militancy in J&K. The militants are using treacherous mountains and forests to hide themselves and their weapons. They are using the natural caves in the forest areas as their safe hide-outs and plan their attacks from these supposed safe havens.

According to statistics, 36 security men, mostly army men, have been killed in militant attacks i the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri. Among the dead also include an IAF corporal and Village Defence Guard (VDG) member.

The VDGs were activated by the government after the rise in militant attacks in Poonch and Rajouri.

They act as eyes and ears of security forces and also conduct patrolling in their respective areas to keep watch on the movement of the militants.

Nineteen civilians have been killed in militant attacks in the Jammu region in last two and a half years.

Among them seven civilians were killed by militants on January 1, 2023 in Dangri village of Rajouri districts. Nine persons were killed when militants attacked a pilgrim bus in Reasi district of Jammu province on June 9. 43 pilgrims were also injured in the militant attack due to which the pilgrim bus fell into a gorge.

Ten militants, mostly Pakistani nationals, were killed in encounters with security forces in the Jammu region in the last two and a half years.

Among them two were killed recently in an encounter with security forces in a village in Hira Nagar area of border district of Kathua.

Former J&K police chief S P Vaid said security forces should formulate an action plan by involving the locals to track down and eliminate the militants’ active in the Jammu region.

“It is very important to eliminate these militants. That should be the top most priority of the security forces,” he said. According to Vaid, militants are using the communication system that is not being tracked down.

“They are communicating using internet based systems. The security agencies should develop human intelligence and track down these Pakistani militants. How will militants survive without food and water. The local police, locals, VDGs should be included by security agencies to eliminate these militants”.

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