200 and counting: Bijbehara encounter against terrorists, most successful one this year
Srinagar, Nov 23: It was just last week that the security forces had announced that they had gunned down 200 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, this year alone. However today was a big day in the war against terror after six terrorists were gunned down by the security forces at Bijbehara in Anantnag District.
The encounter took place in a jungle area of Sekipora after terrorists fired at the security forces. This led to a gun fight and in the process, six terrorists were killed. Incriminating materials including huge quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter. Pertinently no collateral damage took place in this incident.
The Jammu and Kashmir police said that the terrorists killed were from the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. It was one of the most successful operations undertaken this year, the police also added.
The news relating to the death of these terrorists comes just a week after security forces said that this year alone the number terrorists has exceeded 200. Statistics available until the mid of November state that 109 were killed in the terrorist hub of South Kashmir, the rest were reported from the other parts of the state. In addition to this the forces have also apprehended 50 terrorists belonging to various outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen.
Among the 200, the Army has managed to kill some Grade A++ terrorists as well. They include the likes of Sameer Tiger, Abu Maviya, Abu Qasim. Another top terrorist to be killed was Usman Haider, who was the nephew of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Maulana Masood Azhar. Incidentally Haider is the second nephew of the Jaish chief to be killed in the Valley. Last year in November, the Army had gunned down Talha Rashid at Pulwama.
The high rate of terrorists killing has been attributed to perfect coordination between the Army, Intelligence and more importantly the local police. Army officials say that while the number of terrorists deaths is high, there is also the other issue of a high number of terrorists waiting to infiltrate at the border.
Waiting to infiltrate:
Lt. Gen. Singh, who has served in all three regions of Jammu and Kashmir, said, "140 to 160 terrorists at different locations in Pakistan are being pushed into the state."
"The terror infrastructure is intact, and Pakistan's intentions have not changed. The Pakistan Army and the ISI's complicity in planning infiltration and terror attacks is evident and it continues," the officer, who has a vast experience in high-altitude warfare, said.
To a question on the situation along the LoC, he said ceasefire violations have abated after the DGMO-level talks.
"For troops on the LoC, there is no ceasefire... though periodic unprovoked firing by the Pakistan Army and attempts to cause harm to forward posts continue. We do not initiate fire, but we give it back in adequate measure. There is no let up on preparedness and our counter-infiltration grid is strong to deal with infiltrators," he said.
Talking about challenges during winter, Lt Gen Singh, who is part of the elite Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), said the Army anticipates that Pakistani troops will make an attempt to push infiltrators through heavy snow-bound areas and non-traditional routes.
"We have all contingency plans ready. We have coordinated with all security agencies, and plans are being implemented smoothly," said Lt Gen Singh, who commanded a special forces' battalion that participated in the surgical strikes after the attack on an Army brigade in Uri in 2016.
Referring to the recent incident of firing of 107-mm rocket on the Poonch brigade, he said, "Despite Director General of Military Operations-level talks in May during which the two countries agreed to abide by the 2003 ceasefire agreement, Pakistani troops targeted these locations."
"In response, we conveyed that Pakistan must exercise caution before indulging in any misadventure," Lt Gen Singh said.