Why infiltrators see in Machil a safe passage

The National Counter Terrorism Authority had confirmed more than four infiltration attempts in the area over the last few months.

By: Express News Service | Srinagar/new Delhi | Updated: November 24, 2016 2:17 pm
machil, machhal, infiltration, loc firing, border firing, soldiers killed, army men killed, army, jammu kashmir, kashmir, kashmir encounter, J&K, terrorist encounter, army, indian army, mutilated, indian express, Machhal According to official sources, militants have been using various infiltration tracks in this area to reach Kupwara and Lolab Valley.

CONSIDERED AS one of the “shortest” and “safest” infiltration routes into Kupwara district from across the Line of Control (LoC), the Machil sector has once again come under the spotlight with the killing of three Indian soldiers there on Tuesday.

Situated at an altitude of more than 6,500 feet, this sector is marked by dense forests, with the weather and terrain described as inhospitable. Here, Indian and Pakistani bunkers are located at a close distance, with the LoC just 50 km-80 km from Kupwara town.

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According to official sources, militants have been using various infiltration tracks in this area to reach Kupwara and Lolab Valley. And, after the surgical strikes conducted by the Army in September, there have been many incidents of ceasefire violations, including on October 29, when a soldier was killed after his patrol was attacked.

The National Counter Terrorism Authority had confirmed more than four infiltration attempts in the area over the last few months.

In July, days before protests broke out in the Valley over the killing of militant Burhan Wani, J&K government agencies had identified two new infiltration tracks into Handwara and categorised Kaobal Gali, Sardari, Sonar, Kel, Ratta Pani, Shardi, Tejian, Dudhinial, Athmuqam, Katwara, Jura and Lipa valley as the most active routes into Kupwara, Bandipore and Baramulla districts.

The agencies had reported that militants from Shardi, Ratta Pani, Kel, Tejian and Dudhnial cross the LoC through the vast and treacherous terrain in Machil.

Last December, the Army conducted one of its biggest search operations in the area from Manigah to Machil after militants killed Santosh Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles. The search, following information that the militants were hiding in the dense forests of Haihama and Kalaroos, ended in vain despite the involvement of over 700 soldiers and special forces paratroopers.

A senior police officer told The Indian Express that there were many locations where militants or Pakistani regulars could sneak in from Haji Naka to Machil without being spotted. “Of late, militants have been using the forests of Machil to sneak into Kupwara,” said the officer.

In August, three personnel of BSF, which forms the second line of defence in Machil, were killed in an attack in this area. The LoC is just 6 km from the last inhabited villages and on the other side is Kail which, officials allege, is a major launchpad for militants.

According to J&K agencies, there were at least 179 active militants, foreign and local, in the state before Wani’s killing in July. Once focus shifted from anti-militancy operations to the massive public protests, infiltration of fresh batches of militants from across the LoC increased manifold, said sources.

By mid-August, more than 100 new militants had infiltrated into Kashmir, with most of them sneaking through various tracks in Kupwara district, said sources.

The “hotting up of the LoC” has given a fresh impetus to infiltration because cross-LoC firing has made regular patrols and other measures to check infiltration “very difficult”, they said.

“In the hinterland, the fresh recruitment of local boys has risen sharply after Burhan Wani’s killing and the subsequent protests. It is clear that the focus of Pakistani militants is the LoC, especially in Kupwara district. Most of the Pakistani militants are also based in Kupwara district,” said the officer.

In 2010, Machil hit the headlines for the killing of three villagers in an encounter that triggered widespread protests in Kashmir. An Army probe subsequently proved that the encounter was fake and awarded life terms to six of its personnel, including a former commanding officer.

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  1. S
    Syed Jafri
    Nov 23, 2016 at 7:53 pm
    Reporters from both sides should be allowed to go and freely report stories from both sides of L.O.C safely. This is the only way people would learn the real truth and will form rational perspectives. Right now, both sides are reporting stories based on military briefings.
  2. M
    Nov 23, 2016 at 11:47 am
    If any wild animal also cuts off the laser path , alarm will go off , its not that much effective in dense jungle.lt;br/gt;We have to kill the people behind these terrorist ie notorious ISI officers, in such a scale that there heart and mind gets full of fear before trying anything like this.
    1. C
      Nov 23, 2016 at 3:05 am
      All these difficulties were also in previous then why modi is failed and making excuses.
      1. D
        Nov 23, 2016 at 4:14 am
        @Editor: what will make you call these barbarians 'terrorists'?? In spite of such brutal killing and mutilation of our soldiers you continue to call them 'militants'?????
        1. D
          Deeply Concerned
          Nov 23, 2016 at 4:12 am
          Use drones and eliminate pak positions
          1. G
            Nov 23, 2016 at 3:10 am
            IE is telling terrorists which route to use. there is no control on Indian Media, just report without understanding the implications
            1. D
              Nov 23, 2016 at 4:21 am
              India must not blame stan but herself. Note tiny-pimp stan is no match for India and truly India is the third strongest military power after Russia and USA. So what is happening? stan a small country with no industry of any consequence has backers. Thus must be handled appropriately.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Firstly note the stani nuclear program is the hoax of the century and she has one or two Uranium based weapons (obtained from China) which have no impact on India. Her backers have ured her a trickle (lest one day the disloyal stan attacks them) supply of nuclear weapons in case of a war with India. All sane people know that stan will vanish in a war with India and her backers will get pulled in into a Third World War. India has the triad.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Let us be intelligently aggressive and be ready to handle all enemies big and small. Let us be cautious and aggressive. AGNI-6 ICBM MIRV must be demonstrated.lt;br/gt;My suggestion to Mr. Modi is let no country interfere in our affairs and enlarge our armed forces. Our 1.3 billion human resources must be fully utilized. Thus prepare for a war to take on all enemies this will prevent a war.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;In case backers of stan push things further blast more nuclear bombs. In such a way the global balance will be totally shattered as other countries will follow to the dismay of the backers of stan.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Finally make preparations to bring POK back to India.
              1. M
                Nov 23, 2016 at 6:39 am
                Dear Dr. Bose, stan has been a Military governed State and has, therefore, devoted most of her resources to their land Army. They have been cleverer than us in their strategic and diplomatic relations, providing "special services" first to the USA, then Saudi Arabia and now to China. They have received gifts of weapons from all Three countries. They also stole many hi-tech American weapons from the trucks leaving Karachi Port to Afghanistan - the 'Stinger' shoulered fired anti-aircraft missile for example. Therefore, India cannot underestimate the nuisance. But I agree with you that if we go at them aggressively we will prevail.
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