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Steps to check infiltration bids in J&K discussed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 23
Concerned over the escalation in the infiltration of militants from across the border, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil here today held a high-level meeting to discuss measures to counter it, including speeding up the fencing work along the Line of Control (LoC).

The meeting was attended among others by the Centre’s interlocutor on Kashmir N.N. Vohra, Union Home Secretary Dhirendra Singh, BSF chief Ajai Raj Sharma, Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lieut-Gen Shantanu Chowdhury and other senior officials of the Home Ministry and Intelligence Bureau.

They noted with concern the sudden spurt in infiltration bids from June this year after a lull during early months.

The meeting, which discussed ways and means to counter infiltration, including speeding up of the fencing work along the LoC, noted that there had been above 50 infiltration bids this month itself so far, sources said.

Issues pertaining to suicide attacks being carried out by militants recently were discussed and the Central Para Military Forces and other agencies were asked to formulate steps to prevent such bids by militants in future.

About the deployment of the CRPF for counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, which was put on hold, the Home Ministry is understood to have asked for feasibility report from security agencies so that the deployment of the force could begin on the outskirts of the Srinagar city.

Regarding the third round of talks with the Hurriyat Conference, the Centre has decided to wait and watch the response from the Hurriyat to its offer of unconditional dialogue by the Union Home Minister.

The meeting is also understood to have discussed threats received by several moderate separatist leaders in Kashmir from militant groups like Lashker-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has cautioned the government about the dangers and challenges that it may have to grapple with in the near future in Jammu and Kashmir and opined that the security forces should intensify their fight against cross-border terrorism and infiltration.

“Unless we reduce the porosity of our borders and make it extremely difficult for the infiltrators to sneak into the Indian territory, we will not be able to put effective checks on terrorist activities taking place in Jammu and Kashmir,” the committee, headed by BJP’s Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha, said.

It asserted that the need for enhanced surveillance and effective border guarding both along the international border and the LoC becomes all the more essential keeping in view the fact that “BSF being the border guarding force, is now being withdrawn from counter-insurgency operations and, therefore, can be deployed along the border to check infiltration and exfiltration”.

The report noted that infiltration and exfiltration were expected to come to a halt when India and Pakistan agreed to have ceasefire along the LoC in November 2003 as well as the international border.

“But as a matter of fact both infiltration as well as exfiltration continue unabated,” it said adding that the rising trend in terrorist activities, if looked against the backdrop of the fact that necessary infrastructure still exists across the border to aid and abet terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, makes it amply clear that the menace of cross-border terrorism and infiltration will continue to pose a serious challenge to India in the times to come.

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