New Delhi: Intelligence units are wary about the looming threat of radio frequency improvised explosive devices (RF-IED) to the Amarnath Yatra, despite the centre throwing a security blanket over it.
The alert on RF-IEDs comes against the backdrop of these devices increasingly being used by militant groups since the start of this year and also in view of the terrorist attack on the yatra in July last year that killed seven pilgrims and injured 19.
“RF-IEDs are triggered through a remote-controlled device or a cellular device and can be detonated from a distance. They are different from pressure IEDs used by Naxals where even a fraction of weight on the IED can detonate it. The threat from RF-IEDs is omnipresent because it can cause extensive damage to life and property," said an intelligence official, seeking anonymity.
In January, this year, an IED explosion by the Jaish-e-Mohammad in Kashmir’s Sopore district killed four police personnel, while another IED was defused in January along the Srinagar-Baramulla highway.
“IEDs are a very real threat and they are making a comeback as an instrument of combat among terrorist groups. We are relying on constant surveillance and intelligence inputs to avoid any untoward incident," said a person familiar with the yatra’s security arrangements, requesting anonymity.
The political instability in Jammu and Kashmir and the murder of journalist Shujaat Bukhari has prompted the state police to exercise greater caution.
On Thursday, the Jammu and Kashmir police said Bukhari’s murder was hatched and executed in Pakistan by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
“The investigation has established that there was a campaign against Shujaat Bukhari on certain social media platforms… During the investigation, with the cooperation of service providers, tangible evidence has been collected to establish that individuals behind it belong to LeT terrorist organization and all the content on social media was posted from Pakistan," S.P. Pani, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir), said in Srinagar.