NEW DELHI: The Amarnath Yatra was called off in view of multiple intelligence reports that warned Pakistan-based terrorist groups, particularly the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), were planning to target security forces by suicide attacks and IED blasts.
Ibrahim Azhar, elder brother of JeM chief Masood Azhar, had plans of infiltrating into the Kashmir Valley to “supervise major attacks”, sources in the security establishment said. The government then decided to curtail the Amarnath yatra and strengthen the counter-insurgency grid in Kashmir by fresh induction of forces after receiving these reports.
Ibrahim, the main orchestrator of the IC-814 hijacking in 1999, was sighted in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) last month, according to the inputs. Ibrahim had plans to lead attacks against Indian establishment to avenge the death of his son Usman Haider, who was killed by security forces in Awantipora on October 30, 2018.
There were inputs that trained JeM cadre had formed Border Action Teams under the leadership of Ibrahim and moved to Pakistan Army posts across the Line of Control (LoC). Three JeM operatives were positioned in terror launch pads in the Nezapir sector of PoK, opposite the Indian post of Shahpur sector in Poonch. This group had the backing of Pakistani SSG commandos and planned to conduct a BAT (Border Action Team) operation against Indian troops along forwards posts of Barood, Sher, Shakti and Kaiyaan.
Increased activities of terror groups including JeM and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba were being observed near border areas. Intelligence reports had details of Pakistan-based groups that were readying for series of infiltrations to spike up violence. There were specific inputs about JeM targeting security personnel by IED in Sopore area. About 10 days ago, intelligence agencies had given inputs that “four-five LeT terrorists camping in Rangers post in Chak Amru” were readying to infiltrate in Kashmir.
Air Fares go north
The advisory asking Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to leave “as soon as possible” spiked up airfares. Average air fares to and from Srinagar for August 4 increased significantly despite the Union Civil Aviation ministry asking airlines to keep the fares in check.
No leave for Hospital Staff
Government Bone & Joint Hospital in Srinagar directed all its employees to not leave without written permission from the competent authority in view of the “prevailing situation”. The Medical Superintendent said that any dereliction would be strictly dealt with.