Maize crop season in Poonch, Rajouri becomes challenge for security forces, provides natural camouflage to terrorists

“A full-grown maize crop completely spreads over the field and makes it impossible to see on the other side,” the official sources said.
The officials said that during the last month and a half, a terror strike at Pargal Army Camp and a gunfight at Kandhra in Budhal had taken place that establish an increase in terror activities. [Representational Image]
The officials said that during the last month and a half, a terror strike at Pargal Army Camp and a gunfight at Kandhra in Budhal had taken place that establish an increase in terror activities. [Representational Image]File: ANI

Rajouri: The ongoing maize crop season has become a major challenge for the security forces in the twin districts Rajouri and Poonch with officials considering growing maize crops as a natural camouflage to the terrorists.

Maize is the main food crop for the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch which is sown in May and harvested in October, and corn of the maize plant is used by humans as food while corn residual base is used for burning firewood and the maize plant body is used both for feeding cattle as well as for storage of grass and making grass heaps.

Officials said that the maize crop season is always regarded as a tough one in terms of security scenarios and in the last three decades it had been seen that both terror activities, as well as inputs from the locals regarding suspicious movement, witnessed a rise during the maize crop season.

“This year also, the trend continues. In the last month and a half, it has been seen that there is a sudden rise in terror activities as well as of intelligence information by the locals regarding suspicious movement,” they said.

The officials said that during the last month and a half, a terror strike at Pargal Army Camp and a gunfight at Kandhra in Budhal had taken place that establish an increase in terror activities.

The official said that there were some other instances in the twin districts where confirmed terror presence had been reported and all these areas were having thick vegetation as well as maize crop.

Whether there was a link between maize crop season and an increase in terror activities, officials said that one could draw a link as thick vegetation in agriculture fields provides a natural hide, cover, and camouflage for anyone to hide.

They said that no one could deny that terrorists had this in mind and they try to move as much as they could taking shelter from this natural camouflage.

“A full-grown maize crop completely spreads over the field and makes it impossible to see on the other side,” the official sources said. “Even roadside areas having maize crop fields becoming invisible from the open.”

Regarding the increase in inputs of suspicious movement shared by the civilians, official sources said that there was a sudden and steep rise in the flow of such information with over 50 instances of suspicious movement having been received in the last two months in the twin districts.

In the majority of the inputs, it had been seen that people claimed to have seen suspects in or near the maize fields.

“What happens in the maize season is that whenever any animal moves inside the maize field, it makes noise with the movement of crop plant which is heard even up to long distances and people many times misunderstand this as a suspicious movement and share information with the forces,” the officials said.

However, they said that every single piece of information received in this matter was taken on board, and operations were launched.

DIG Rajouri Poonch Range, Dr Haseeb Mughal in a recent interaction with the journalist mentioned the natural camouflage during monsoon and maize crop season stating that during monsoon, wild growth and vegetation especially maize crop provide a natural cover and shelter.

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