The infiltration bid by five fidayeen militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad on the Line of Control in Uri on Monday did not take the security establishment by surprise, as there had been several similar infiltration attempts from the other side of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir through Uri sector in the past six months. Army’s Brigade commander, Brigadier Y S Ahlawat, said the heavily armed militants were neutralised soon after they crossed Jhelum river.
“A major tragedy was averted on the Army Day and in the run-up to the Republic Day celebrations. The infiltration bid was made along the Jhelum on the night of January 14-15. Army personnel picked up the movement when the militants were moving along the banks and tracked them as they crossed the river in a boat towards our side,” he said.
A senior Army officer told The Indian Express that it was the second time since September last year when fidayeen militants were killed before they could target a camp. “Four militants were killed in the same sector soon after they crossed the LoC, the militants were fidayeen and had plans to target strategic 76 artillery unit at Kalgai village.”
The officer said the militants who were neutralised Monday were heavily armed and could have either entered any nearby camp or moved close to Uri brigade headquarters. The officer said militants could have either again crossed the river to reach Salamabad or Sultan Daki village.
Security along the LoC, especially in the Uri sector and around its main security installation, has been revamped following the militant attack on the administrative complex of Army’s brigade headquarters in September 2016 that left 18 soldiers dead. Four militants were killed in the attack.
Breaches on the fences around the camps have not only been repaired but a fresh layer of high-tech mesh wire has been put around the camps. Bulletproof bunker vehicles are placed around security installations by the Army as well as the Border Security Forces along the LoC in Uri sector even during the daytime.
Soon after militancy started in the late 80s close to PoK, militants would infiltrate or ex-filtrate through the villages of Uri, however, due to high security, especially after the LoC fencing, militants began sneaking in either through Kupwara or Gurez sectors.
Officials, however, told The Indian Express that militants have once again started taking the routes through Uri sector. “We captured some GPS from militants in which their destination showed as Kalapahar in Uri and then Hajibal in Baramulla,” said a senior police officer.
In September last year, a top militant Qayoom Najjar was killed while he was trying to sneak into Valley through Uri sector. Najjar was one of the oldest surviving militants’ active in Kashmir.