Wednesday, May 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Terrorists’ training on contract
Move to hoodwink USA
M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Jammu, April 30
Under a new strategy, Pakistani agencies, especially the ISI, have been given the task of training youths in the handling of highly sophisticated weapons and explosives to contractors.

These contractors, according to reports reaching here from across the border, have been entrusted with the task of running arms training camps, providing lodge and board facilities and assisting trained guerrillas to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir.

These reports said a group of contractors is running three arms training camps at Chakoti across the Uri Sector. More than 1500 youths are receiving arms training in these three camps. Preparations are under way to push them into the valley in groups.

Arms training camps run on the same lines are said to be functioning at several places across Kupwara, Poonch and Rajouri. According to official sources, the system of running the camps through contractors is to impress upon the USA and its allies that the Pakistan Government and its official agencies have no hand in running these camps or in assisting or adding cross-border terrorism.

Since the American forces and sleuths of US intelligence agencies are still in Pakistan, Islamabad does not want to give a chance to these agencies to hold official agencies responsible for aiding and abetting cross-border terrorist activities.

What seems to worry state government official agencies besides the CIA is the manner in which, infiltrators have managed to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir from across the LoC. Senior state government functionaries, posted in Poonch and Rajouri, confirmed that even after the Indian military buildup on the LoC, there was no marked decline in the rate of ingress.

A police officer said “we have killed more than 40 hardcore militants in Poonch sector during the past 10 days and most of them were eliminated hours after they had infiltrated into the Indian territory in Poonch. Had infiltration been checked to a large extent, the rate of elimination too, would have decreased,” he said, adding that “we have never witnessed any substantial decrease in the manpower.”

He and other reports said most infiltrators from across Poonch and Rajouri had moved to areas in south Kashmir and even eyewitness accounts had revealed that all of sudden the number of gun-totting youths had swelled in Kulgam, Shopian, Kokernag, Pahalgam, Srigufwara and Bijebehara areas of South Kashmir.

A BSF officer posted in Srinagar said during the past three weeks militancy related activities had registered an upward curve in parts of South Kashmir after the infiltrators had entered into the inhabited villages while descending the Pir Panjal mountain range.

Reports from Poonch and Rajouri said the Army authorities usually dismissed information on ingress supplied by the police as “baseless.” An officer said he had informed the Army authorities that a group of infiltrators were camping near Sathra in Poonch but the report was treated as a “figment of imagination.” It was after the police swung into action that the Army authorities realised the gravity of the situation and assisted the police in eliminating 18 rebels within 24 hours.

All official agencies in the state are unanimous in saying that the main aim behind encouraging infiltration of armed men into Jammu and Kashmir was to “wreck” the ensuing Assembly poll.

Islamabad is worried over reports of growing dissensions among the separatists and on people’s dismay over continued violence. At least on two occasions in the recent past a large number of people have taken to the streets, protesting against militants, accused of killing innocent persons.

In the light of this development, Pakistan has plans of sustaining the ongoing armed campaign through foreign mercenaries.Back

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