Security forces probing routes of militant groups in Rajouri, Poonch

Security forces probing routes of militant groups in Rajouri, Poonch
However, the last four months witnessed a sudden rise in militancy in the twin districts, registering nine encounters since July in which army suffered around a dozen fatal casualties. [File]ANI

Rajouri: The security and intelligence grid is probing to figure out possible routes followed by multiple militant groups to reach Rajouri and Poonch districts which witnessed a sudden rise in militant activities in the last four months.

In the past few years, the security forces were treating the twin border districts as a “militancy free area with no physical presence of any militant.”

At the same time, the security forces were not oblivious to this fact that different areas of both the districts were being used as a transit route by militant groups which would infiltrate from the Line of Control to move towards Kashmir valley.

However, the last four months witnessed a sudden rise in militancy in the twin districts, registering nine encounters since July in which army suffered around a dozen fatal casualties.

Official sources said that sudden increase in militant activities and movement in twin districts was taken as a 'serious security concern' by the security forces and intelligence agencies.

“Everyone is of the view that militant outfits are aimed at the revival of militancy in these areas,” the official sources maintained.

“Going by the trend witnessed in the past few years, the militants would not spend much time in Rajouri and Poonch areas. Their prime destination would be Kashmir valley. But this year it has been seen that militants have been spending a longer period here in the areas of twin border districts,” the sources pointed out.

“During the last three to four months, some militant groups have been active in the twin districts. They are operating and are moving from one hinterland area to another. Multiple encounters at different places and footprints seen by forces clearly establish the same,” said official sources.

They further said that the intelligence agencies and the security forces were engaged in following possible route or routes taken by militant groups in Rajouri and Poonch districts, which otherwise were considered as “militancy free areas.”

“There are two possibilities while are being explored by the security and intelligence grid. One possibility is the fresh infiltration. The militant groups, which would have crossed LoC in the recent months, are operating in twin districts. Second possibility is that these militant groups were present in Kashmir valley but now shifted to Pir Panchal,” said sources.

They said that both these possibilities were under investigation.

“Multiple level probe is going on within different setups. Both these possibilities are being explored," the official sources further said.

They also shared apprehension within security forces and agencies that there could be two or more militant groups (smaller in size) operating in twin districts. “They would be moving from one area to another,” the sources shared.

On October 17, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Rajouri-Poonch range Vivek Gupta had told media persons when Bhata Dhurian encounter was still on that the security forces had been tracking the militant groups in areas of Rajouri and Poonch for the last two to three months.

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