Ajay Banerjee & Mukesh Ranjan
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 2
The Centre’s decision of sending in additional troops of the Central armed forces to Kashmir is an outcome of several factors, including military activity in Pakistan, a renewed proactive push to hit at terrorists and intelligence inputs that the Amarnath yatra could be the target of militants.
The Army will be overstretched in case of an exigency and the Central forces will be needed for outer-cordoning during anti-terrorist operations in the hinterland.
Apart from this, the political grapevine is of some ‘development’ on the long-pending Kashmir issues. This includes the Centre’s plan to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state’s residents in government jobs and land. The speculations have dominated the discourse in Kashmir over the past few days.
Militarily, indications were visible on the night of July 31 when the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), sensing some ‘movement’ on the Indian side, flew combat air patrols — the first in the past two months. The Indian Air Force responded and did its ‘night patrolling’ in the air which officials here termed as ‘routine flying’. Three air fields in north India do this ‘routine patrolling’ or night flying. Surveillance planes of both sides have been flying.
Between July 29 and August 1, the Army, answering Pakistan’s cross-LoC firing, opened its artillery in the Uri sector. The artillery firing was after a lull of several months. Sources in the Army say firing by Pakistan in areas north of Pir Panjal was ‘unusual’ for this time of the year as firing is done to facilitate infiltration of terrorists. Around this time of the year, the Jhelum and its tributaries carry huge amounts of water and crossing these rivers would be impossible by militants.
Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) clarified and reiterated that 100 companies (10,000 troops) had been ordered for deployment in J&K about a week ago, which are in the process of reaching their destinations. “This has apparently led to speculations of induction of additional forces,” a senior official said.
The sources said based on assessment of the internal security situation and training requirements and also the need for paramilitary troops to be rotated for rest and recuperation, “induction and de-induction of Central forces is a continuous and dynamic process”.
They also insisted that it has never been the practice to discuss in public domain the details of deployment and movement of paramilitary forces deployed in a particular theatre.
The political grapevine is of some ‘development’ on the long-pending Kashmir issues. This includes the Centre’s plan to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state’s residents in government jobs and land. The speculations have dominated the discourse in Kashmir over the past few days.
Views from valley
The responsibility of protecting Article 35A and Article 370 is on the mainstream political parties. — Mehbooba Mufti, former CM
The unprecedented order will do nothing to dampen the sense of fear and foreboding that prevails in the Kashmir valley at the moment. — Omar Abdullah, NC Vice-President
The provision was negotiated by the regional parties and is an Article of faith, which should not be breached. — Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Separatist leader
Plane slips into valley below, breaks into two parts; severa...
Wing Commander Sathe had also served as test pilot with Air ...
20 Indian soldiers had lost their lives in the clash with Ch...
Quad comprises US, India, Australia and Japan
CM asks big cities, towns to come out with integrated manage...