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Posted at: Sep 15, 2018, 12:10 AM; last updated: Sep 15, 2018, 12:10 AM (IST)

Reasi gunfight exposes chinks in security grid

Amir Karim Tantray

Tribune News Service

Jammu, September 14

Even as all three heavily armed militants were eliminated by security forces in a 33-hour-long operation in Reasi district on Thursday, several lapses point to the failure on the part of intelligence and security agencies.

The biggest lapse appears to be on the part of the BSF, which guards the International Border through which the militants entered the state.

"I have nothing to say on this. The police and the Army will give their evidence report regarding where the militants came from," Ram Awtar, IG, BSF, told The Tribune

Thereafter, the Army, which acts as the second line of defence on the International Border (IB), has to share the blame for not keeping its area secure as the militants managed to move around without being challenged or intercepted.

The intelligence wing of the police department and other agencies were unaware of the infiltration and the militants being ferried to Kashmir. “We came to know about the militants when they fired at a police party at Jhajjar Kotli during checking. Otherwise, we had no clue about their presence,” said a senior intelligence officer.

On Thursday, the Army and the J&K Police confirmed that the militants had recently infiltrated from Tarnah Nalah near the Bobiyan border outpost on the IB in Kathua after the driver of the truck in which the militants were being taken to Kashmir from Jammu and a cleaner were interrogated.

“The militants belonged to the Jaish-e-Muhammad terror (JeM) outfit,” said SDS Jamwal, IGP, Jammu.

Major General Arvind Bhatia, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Uniform Force, told mediapersons that the driver and the cleaner arrested in the case had revealed that it was for the fifth time they were ferrying militants to Kashmir. “Earlier, they had transported 20 to 22 militants from Jammu and Samba to the Valley,” he said.

These militants had taken the same route which the three JeM militants, who had launched a fidayeen attack at an Army camp at Nagrota on November 29, 2016, had taken.

In June, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), investigating the Nagrota attack, had revealed that in March 2017, it had inputs that three militants had successfully infiltrated through the Samba sector and were dropped at Khrew near Pampore. However, the intelligence agencies did not act on the information provided by the NIA.

Were waiting for ultras for 3 days: Driver   

During the interrogation, the driver and the cleaner said they were waiting for the militants for three days. Once they arrived, the duo boarded them into the truck near Dyala Chak in Kathua. "The truck was loaded with construction material at the Bari Brahmana industrial area in Samba before moving in the opposite direction towards Dyala Chak instead of going towards Srinagar. After receiving the militants, the trucker came back towards Jammu instead of taking the Dhar road, which could have taken them directly to Udhampur," an officer, who is part of the interrogation team, said

NIA to take over case next week   

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will be taking over the investigation into the Jhajjar Kotli terror case next week once the Union Ministry of Home Affairs issues a formal order in this regard. However, an NIA team informally joined the investigation along with the J&K Police and other agencies on Friday. It visited the encounter site and questioned the driver and co-driver of the truck that had ferried the militants.“We haven’t yet taken over the investigation as we are awaiting a proper notification from the ministry which is expected by next week,” ADGP Alok Mittal, an NIA spokesperson, said, adding that the agency joined the police and other agencies in the investigation


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