Sunday, August 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Major infiltration attempts at LoC
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 18
Indian troops foiled a major infiltration bid by Pakistan-aided militants when at least five rebels, four belonging to the Tehrikul Jehadi Islami and one to the Hizbul Mujahideen, were killed and five wounded in Rajouri and Poonch Sectors today.

Official reports said Pakistani troops resorted to heavy firing on Indian posts and pickets early this morning in Nowshehra area of Rajouri and Poonch. The Indian troops retaliated, killing four in Nowshehra and one in Poonch. The five wounded were carried away by Pakistani soldiers.

Reports said the intensity of the firing from across the LoC indicated that it was a cover for a large group of militants. As the Indian soldiers spotted a small group of youths equipped with weapons intruding into the Indian territory from across Nowshehra, they retaliated effectively, killing four on the spot.

According to the reports, an infiltration bid similar to the one in Nowshehra was witnessed but timely retaliation forced the infiltrators to flee back after they found one of their men dead and two wounded.

Official sources said the Pakistani troops had started giving fire cover to the militants in Nowshehra Sector since last evening.

The sources said the Pakistani troops and Rangers had been hitting Indian pickets and observation posts not only in Poonch and Rajouri, but in various areas on this side of the international border in Akhnoor, Samba and R.S. Pora to enable the infiltrators to sneak into the Jammu Sector.

According to these sources, the troops all along the LoC and the IB have been alerted and directed to take suitable action to foil any ingress by the militants.

Five militants, including a self-styled divisional commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, were among six killed and three injured in separate incidents in the Kashmir valley since last night.

Hizbul divisional commander Roshan Khayal, alias “Bilal Sangeen” was killed along with a Pakistani militant at Badshah Nagar locality of Natipora in Srinagar last night during an encounter with a joint search party of BSF and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the local police. An assault rifle, a pistol and some ammunition were recovered from them.

However, the Hizbul Mujahideen claimed that the two militants were arrested from Pohru area of Badgam yesterday and later killed in a “fake encounter”. Bilal was the battalion commander of the outfit.

Two foreign mercenaries were killed in a gunfight with a joint search party of the Army and the SOG at Sikhnar in Sogam area of Kupwara district last night.

A civilian was killed and another injured in a fierce encounter between the Army and militants at Kantpora in Lolab area of Kupwara. Residential houses were partially damaged in the incident.

Security personnel gunned down a Pakistani militant affiliated with the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, alias Khalid, from Rawalpindi in Pakistan in an encounter in Baramula district yesterday.

Constable Abdul Majid Mir was injured when unidentified militants shot at him in Baramula yesterday. He has been hospitalised. His condition is stated to be stable.


200 surrendered ultras were Pak army regulars
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
About 200 surrendered militants had last year gone back to Pakistan with arms and ammunition, raising suspicion that those militants might be part of a broader design of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and might be Pak army regulars.

This startling information was given by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs when the over 40-member-strong committee, led by Pranab Mukherjee (Congress), visited Jammu and Kashmir last year.

The Committee’s 75th report on “Cross Border Terrorism and Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir”, which was tabled in Parliament earlier this month, makes a fleeting reference to the above-mentioned point.

Mr Abdullah is of the view that the security agencies should keep a track of such surrendered militants to find out whether they were Kashmiris or Pakistan army regulars in the guise of Kashmir militants.

According to watchers of security and strategic affairs here, this point deserves more attention than it has received so far as it might be yet another “innovation” of the ISI which is known for juggling and changing strategies to keep the Indian security agencies on tenterhooks.

Besides, the Border Security Force (BSF) has a full-fledged battalion comprising exclusively of surrendered militants.

The Farooq Abdullah government has been quite vocal about the need to bring surrendered militants to the national mainstream. However, Mr Abdullah’s raising of this point before the Parliamentary Committee makes it clear that while continuing with the humane approach he wants adequate security safeguards to be taken.

An unusually aggressive measure to tackle Pakistan’s ongoing proxy war was stated before the Parliamentary Committee by the Divisional Commissioner of Jammu who stated that “surgical strikes” should be carried out against the terrorist training camps located across the LoC.

The Divisional Commissioner of Jammu also informed that recently a new trend of opening up of a large number of ‘madarsas’ was noticed, especially in Poonch district. These ‘madarsas’ were being used by fundamentalist elements to indoctrinate young boys.

The Jammu DC made some suggestions as follows to tackle militancy:

* Leadership of the militants should be identified and neutralised.

* Terrorist hideouts located in the hinterland should be identified and busted.

* Efforts should be made to stop exfiltration and infiltration across the LoC as well as the international border.


Advani blames talks failure on Musharraf

Lucknow, August 18
The Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, today said that the Agra summit would have come to a meaningful conclusion had Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf not met the Hurriyat leaders, not called the Pak-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir as a freedom struggle and not talked of Bangladesh division at his meeting with the Indian editors

“Right from the beginning General Musharraf was in no mood to work for an understanding and was merely addressing the people of Pakistan on the Kashmir issue,” Mr Advani told reporters here.

“However, despite all this we have taken steps forward in finding a solution to the Kashmir problem,” he said.

The Home Minister said talks were the means of solving problems and the Indian attempts had been praised at the international level.

Mr Advani said he had clarified to the General that India considered Kashmir including the Pakistan occupied territory a part of the country. “Accepting this fact could end terrorism in the state,” he added. He said he had advocated an expatriation treaty between India and Pakistan.

The Home Minister said if that was not possible, Pakistan should hand over Dawood Ibrahim, wanted in connection with 1993 Bombay riots, to India.

“General Musharraf had said that Dawood was not in Pakistan. Even if that was true during the time of his visit, everyone knew that he has been operating from Karachi,” he said. UNI


Vajpayee’s statements baseless: Pak

Islamabad, August 18
Pakistan today termed as “baseless” statements made by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in Parliament about the outcome of the Agra summit and expressed hope that it would not have any impact on any future Indo-Pak talks.

Reacting to Mr Vajpayee’s statements in the Rajya Sabha two days ago that an understanding has been reached over a “broad framework” to continue talks with Pakistan, and Islamabad has agreed not to raise the Kashmir issue in SAARC, he said “at first Pakistan displayed utmost restraint and tolerance and is still doing so.” PTI

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