How the Jammu-Srinagar highway became a hub of Jaish-e-Mohammad activity
Srinagar, Feb 19: The attack at Pulwama in which 44 CRPF jawans were martyred was one of the most ghastly incidents that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed.
One of the main issues that one would have to look into post this incident is the security along the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Following this attack, a decision was taken to stop movement of all civilian traffic, when a convoy passes.
The stretch between Bijbehera town and Pampore in particular is an extremely challenging one to guard. There have been several incidents in the past, where the forces have been targeted by terrorists.
Officials tell OneIndia that it is in these areas that terrorists are active. In recent times, it has been found that the activities of the Jaish-e-Mohammad has risen. Incidents of terror have taken place on this stretch despite the presence for Army Road Opening Parties along with the deployment of security personnel.
It may be recalled that on June 25 2016, terrorists had stopped a CRPF bus, part of a convoy. 8 paramilitary personnel were martyred while 20 others were injured in the attack. There has also been an another incident on the same stretch when several CRPF personnel were injured after terrorists opened fire. In 2014, terrorists opened fire on a BSF convoy and injured many.
Despite the security being tight, terrorists have managed to enter into the highway and target the convoys. One of the routes found was through the Jhelum river. Earlier the highway would pass through residential areas and terrorists had taken advantage. Despite a new highway coming up, their hideouts remain intact. The Jaish in particular in recent times has taken advantage of this and staged attacks on the highway.
In the 1990s, no civilian vehicles were allowed on the highway when a convoy passed. An officer tells OneIndia that in the 1990s the movement of civilian vehicles along the highway was not allowed when the Army convoy was passing. This was done to sanitise the area and ensure that the convoys move under high security.
However, in the late 1990s, the convoys came under attack by terrorists, failing which it was decided to change the strategy. It was felt that allowing civilian vehicles to move when the convoys were passing would be better for the security of the Army personnel.
Terrorists in Kashmir normally refrain from attacking civilians and hence it was decided that the convoys would be safer if the movement of civilian vehicles was allowed at the same time.