Earlier considered a relatively peaceful and militancy-free zone, Rajouri and Poonch districts are witnessing a spike in militant activities with 13 gunfights taking place in the twin districts during the past year and over six infiltration attempts being foiled by the Army along the Line of Control (LoC).
The rise in militancy-related activities is worrying the security agencies and engulfing the civilian population in the twin districts in a state of fear.
As per the official figures, 13 gunfights occurred in Rajouri and Poonch districts, both along the LoC as well as the hinterland in which security forces suffered major causalities including the killing of nine security forces personnel in the twin gunfights at Chamrer Forest and Bhata Dhurian in October this year.
In the first of these 13 encounters, two foreign militants were killed by the security forces at Poshana on the Mughal Road while an Over Ground Worker accompanying them was arrested.
The other gunfight that took place in the hinterland included one at Daddal village of Sunderbani in Rajouri on July 8 in which three militants and two Army personnel were killed.
In the encounter on August 6 in Bhangai village of Rajouri Thanamandi two militants were killed.
An Army’s Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and an unidentified militant was killed in an encounter that took place at Karyote Kalas Mohalla in Rajouri’s Thanamandi area on August 19.
An encounter also took place on September 13 in Dori Maal area of Manjakote in Rajouri in which one unidentified militant was killed.
Another encounter took place on October 12 at Chamrer Forest of Poonch’s Surankote area in which five Army personnel were killed.
Four Army personnel were killed in another encounter that took place at Bhata Dhurian Nar Forest of Poonch’s Mendhar subdivision on October 15.
Another encounter broke out on November 16 at Khablan village of Rajouri in which militants managed to escape from the spot.
The latest encounter took place on December 14 at Rattan Pir near Behram Gala of Poonch’s Surankote area in which a foreign militant identified as Abu Zarar alias Zaar was killed.
Officials said that six encounters had taken place on the LoC during the ongoing year which included one at Ashwini Gap of Nowshera sector in Rajouri district that took place on July 8 in which one unidentified militant was killed while an infiltration bid was foiled by the Army followed by another infiltration attempt on the LoC’s Baba Khori area of Nowshera sector which was foiled.
An infiltration bid was foiled on August 30 in the Poonch sector area of LoC in which three militants were killed but their bodies could not be retrieved and it was followed by another infiltration attempt on September 3 in Krishna Ghati’s Balnoi area in which a group of four heavily-armed militants was pushed back with two among them getting injured.
As per the official details, the latest infiltration attempt took place on LoC on November 27 in which a wanted guide facilitating infiltration along the LoC, Muhammad Arif was killed when he was trying to push in a group of militants who managed to escape.
Officials in the security setup said that such militancy activities were worrying as earlier the area of Pir Panjal was generally a militancy-free zone and only stray incidents of militancy used to take place here that too only along the LoC.
“The year 2021 remained a year of disturbance to some extent in the hinterland of Rajouri and Poonch districts and witnessed a sudden rise in militancy activities,” officials said.
They said that the top brass of the security forces was keeping a close watch on the entire scenario and necessary steps were also being taken to put in place necessary measures to check the increase further.