BY DEEPAK SHARMA
New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) As the Independence Day celebrations draw near, large groups of suicide squads belonging to Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), scattered around their launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC), seem desperate to infiltrate into the Valley to execute fidayeen attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, highly placed sources in the Intelligence Bureau revealed.
Amid the cross-border shelling along the LoC in the past two weeks, small groups of suicide squads had reportedly infiltrated into the high reaches of south Kashmir. Sources said that after a long time, Talibani veterans, equipped with sophisticated weapons have joined JeM in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) bordering LoC in their bid to target Indian establishment.
The infiltration of Army-trained fidayeen into the Valley had set off alarm bells at the top security establishment in New Delhi. For an immediate assessment of the ground situation, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and a team of top security officials were rushed to Srinagar last week. On NSA’s assessment report, the Centre deployed additional paramilitary forces in the Valley, including in Srinagar.
Sources in the security establishment said curtailing the Amarnath Yatra and later evacuating domestic and foreign tourists in the Valley was part of security measures taken in the wake of Jem and LeT conspiracy to trigger multiple terror strikes in J&K. One of the most significant changes in the their strategy is that recently veteran cadres of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have also joined JeM and LeT groups.
Intercepts of conversation between these groups have revealed that Talibani terrorists, equipped with sophisticated weapons have lined up at the terror launching pads near the LoC. An advance M24 sniper recovered two days back by Indian troops in the Chandanwari (Amarnath Yatra route) is usually used by Talibani veterans.
In a quick response, the Indian forces bombed a terror hideout, inside 30km of PoK, near the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project. The Army also foiled an infiltration bid by neutralizing 7 Pak terrorists in the Keran sector, in the early hours of August 1. These terrorists are said to be part of the Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT).
Sources said that behind Jem and LeT, handlers of Pakistan’s Inter Services intelligence (ISI) are playing a pro-active role. The ISI wants to target the mass flag hoisting ceremonies across all villages of Jammu and Kashmir on the Independence Day. The Union Home Minister Amit Shah had planned flag hoisting at all the village panchayats across the Valley this year.
Shah’s masterstroke, aimed at generating a momentum in J&K in support of the nationalist forces, seems to have caused considerable consternation across the border. One of the reasons behind the heavy deployment of forces in the Valley is aimed to thwart ISI’s design on the occasion of August 15, say sources.
Intelligence sources said that Ibrahim Azhar, elder brother of JeM Chief Maulana Masood Azhar, is reportedly hand-in-glove with the ISI in helping to infiltrate suicide squads into the Indian side. Ibrahim, said to be close to TTP cadre, was sighted at one of the terror camps, located in Muzaffarabad last month. While Masood is not keeping well, the reins of JeM have now passed into the hands of Ibrahim, who is also a trained terrorist.
Ibrahim was the main conspirator of the sensational IC-814 hijacking in 1999. He seems to be desperate to infiltrate the fidayeen into the Valley to target Indian establishment to avenge the death of his son, Usman Haider, who was killed in an encounter in Pulwama last year.
BY DEEPAK SHARMA