An Indian security force personnel stands guard in front of the closed shops during restrictions following scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the Indian government, in Srinagar. (Reuters)
An Indian security force personnel stands guard in front of the closed shops during restrictions following scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the Indian government, in Srinagar. (Reuters)

Kashmir’s apple trade route turns active but terror threat looms large

  • Intelligence reports suggested the operatives have been hiding in pockets of south Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama
  • OWGs are targeting civilians who are defying their orders and coming out to work or go to school

NEW DELHI : A day after security forces arrested eight Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives from north Kashmir’s Sopore, intelligence inputs have suggested that clusters of over-ground workers (OGW) in the region may target the forces as well as civilians who have “defied" their orders and resumed normal activities.

While the erstwhile state has witnessed a security blanket as well as a communication clampdown in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 being last month, the cells of terrorist organisations have begun mobilising their cadres across the Valley.

The movement has raised an alarm in the Valley where the apple trade route has now become active.

Intelligence reports suggested the operatives have not infiltrated afresh in the Valley but have been hiding in pockets of south Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama from where the OGWs have been operating.

“This is especially worrying for two reasons -- the OGWs are targeting civilians who are defying their orders and coming out to work or go to school. Second, because of the government’s outreach programme, the civilians will now move across areas like Sopore, Baramulla, Shopian and Pulwama to harvest and sell their apple produce to the government – which will not go down well with the terrorists," said a senior security force official, who did not wish to be identified.

The Union home ministry, however, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the process is executed without any casualty or civilian toll.

“Forces are already keeping vigil and operations are on to locate any suspicious movement. At the Line of Control, efforts are being made to thwart any fresh infiltration. Till the procurement (of apples) process is completed, there will be no gap in security in the said areas to ensure civilians are protected," said a senior Union home ministry official.

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