The Army on Monday said there is no specific intelligence input about any threat to the annual Amarnath Yatra that is slated to start from July 2. The Army that has launched operation Shiva for the upcoming yatra has also put the entire yatra route under aerial surveillance.
“At this point in time, we do keep getting generic inputs on the movement of terrorists as it were, so to relate anything specific to the yatra, I wouldn’t do that,” General Officer Commanding (GoC), 15 Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha said. “But the generic inputs of the terrorists movements in South Kashmir and the adjoining areas, yes off course.”
Saha, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an army function, said that army has launched Operation Shiva for smooth conduct of the annual pilgrimage.
“Army will be providing the environmental security i.e. securing all the approaches to the yatra route per se both from Chandanwari and Baltal side…we have put the areas under aerial surveillance and we are studying the daily feed,” Saha said.
“The idea is to be situationally aware by effective intelligence means to be deployed physically on the ground, to be able to prevent any ant-national elements from trying to disrupt the yatra and off course have all the arrangements in place for taking any security threats that may emerge to the yatra.”
When asked about the number of infiltration attempts at the Line of Control this year, Saha said that the late snowfall is the reason of the militant “desperation”.
“This year we had little late snowfall so that is the reason, probably you see some kind of desperation, which is there. We saw the first attempt on 25 May…and even last night (Saturday and Sunday) there was an attempt that had taken place beyond Jhumagund in the Keran sector,” he said adding that there was a contact after that they (militants) left the place in a rush. “We recovered a wire cutter and walking stick. So attempts have been there frequently.”
Commenting about the appearance of hitherto unknown groups Lashkar Islam and Tehreek Taliban Jammu & Kashmir, GoC 15 Corps said, “By and large, it appears to be a fringe group which is trying to create a sense of terror in the areas in which they are operating,” he said.
“About the Tehreek Taliban Jammu & Kashmir, these are some posters that have come, that is still being investigated because any such indicator it is my belief that it must be taken seriously and it must be investigated to its logical conclusion.”
To a question, if the Islamic state (IS) can be they part of the “terror activities” in the State, the GOC said “security forces have to be alert and alive to such threats they may emerge.”
“Last year, there were five instances when we saw the flags(IS) on display at different places, on four occasions in Srinagar and one occasion at Shopian,” he said.
“So, yes all the agencies are keeping a watch for that, but as such to say that there is any trend or pattern , that didn’t emerge because they were all in 2014 and it didn’t quite get linked to one another in that sense.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines