Terrorists using satellite phones and radicalizing the youth during prayers at mosques, say police
Security forces have traced LeT training and launch pads to Muzaffarabad
NEW DELHI :
Radicalization is continuing unabated in Kashmir, despite a communication clampdown, Indian security and intelligence officials said on Thursday. The comments come just a day after the Indian Army said Pakistan was attempting to send terrorists into India using launch pads along Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The central government has said that it has not lifted the restrictions on the use of mobile networks in the valley primarily because it would fuel unrest. However, intelligence inputs have revealed that over-ground workers of terrorist groups have been communicating through satellite phones and have been radicalising the youth during prayers at mosques, especially in villages across south Kashmir’s Pulwama.
Security forces have also traced training and launch pads belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba to Muzaffarabad. “Pakistan has been trying to test various strategies along the PoK. Now, it has come to light that these terrorists are sidestepping all communication curbs and using satellite communication and resorting to old, traditional methods of radicalization. This means that young boys are ‘spoken to’ in the mosques, where they are allowed to go," said a senior intelligence official, seeking anonymity.
However, defence experts said that there was nothing out of the ordinary in Pakistan’s deployment of cross-border terror. “This (infiltration) is an ongoing affair and it is a long-drawn strategy of Pakistan. Camps belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish have been running for the last 30 years along PoK and Pakistan shuts them down and revives them at will," said Lt. Gen (retd) H.S. Panag, a former Indian Army officer and defence expert.
Former government officials have said that in the days following the abrogation of Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir a special status, India’s counter-terrorism strategy has taken a hit, with the forces receiving only scattered inputs on the presence of terrorists in pockets of the valley.
“India’s counter-insurgency grid has taken a dip after Article 370, because information and informants have dried up. Those who would provide tip-offs earlier, no longer do so. In this one month, the forces have tracked just two terrorists, while there are 250 of them in the valley. This would have been the ideal time to clean up the valley, but intelligence has failed us," a former central government official said, on condition of anonymity.