New Delhi: Three Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists were arrested in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district on Thursday, along with a cache of arms, just two days after security forces in Jammu and Kashmir nabbed a group of Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives in Baramulla, the Jammu and Kashmir Police said.
These arrests, indicative of heightened militant movement, could potentially delay the timeline that the Centre has set to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, a month after a blanket clampdown was imposed following the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August.
Intelligence reports have said that these terrorists had not infiltrated into the valley now but had been hiding in areas such as south Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama from where the overground workers of their network have been operating.
“Today we intercepted a truck JK 13E-2000 on specific inputs at Lakhanpur and arrested three persons," senior superintendent of police (Kathua) Sridhar Patil said on Thursday.
The police recovered arms and ammunition, including four AK-56 rifles, two AK-47 rifles, six magazines and 180 rounds of ammunition, besides ₹11,000 in cash, he said.
Thursday’s arrests come just days after the Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested eight terrorists affiliated to the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Kashmir’s Sopore district on Monday. The group had been intimidating and threatening people of the area with posters, the police said. The Sopore police also recovered computers and other accessories from the militants.
The Union home ministry has asserted that there are no loopholes in security in the valley.
“The security forces are keeping an eye out for any suspicious movement in the valley. It is creditable that the forces have nabbed these militants who were trying to intimidate locals and peddle arms. At the Line of Control, efforts are being made to thwart any fresh infiltration. There will be no gap in security in the region," said a senior Union home ministry official.
The arrests come in the wake of the Centre, which had restored all landline connections in the valley, on Wednesday beginning to restore postpaid mobile services in Kupwara just days after the United Nations raised doubts about the clampdown that had been imposed in Kashmir.
Mobile numbers of officials catering to essential services have been activated, said an official familiar with the development, requesting anonymity. Activation of the other mobile services are also being considered, said the official mentioned above.
“There are practically no restrictions on movement anywhere. Landlines are functional. Regarding mobile communication there continues to be tremendous provocation from across the border. Therefore, any decision must factor that provocation," Jammu and Kashmir principal secretary Rohit Kansal said on Thursday.
Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik had earlier reiterated that the restoration of mobile and internet services would hamper security operations and breathe life into militancy.
The Centre’s efforts to restore normalcy have had mixed results. Schools and government offices had been made functional a fortnight ago, but attendance in schools has been bleak. “The attendance of teachers is around 75% across schools but the attendance of students is still very thin. We are working concertedly to ensure that no civilian is harmed when on their way to work or to attend school," said another central government official.