PM Narendra Modi orders wider op to combat terror in Jammu | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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PM Narendra Modi orders wider op to combat terror in Jammu

ByNeeraj Chauhan, New Delhi
Jun 14, 2024 01:02 AM IST

PM Modi chairs review meeting on Jammu terror attacks before leaving for G7 Summit, directs full counterterror capabilities deployment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked security forces to deploy the full spectrum of counterterror capabilities to deal with the spate of attacks that have roiled Jammu over the past four days, even as personnel fanned out across the region to locate foreign terrorists and police detained around 50 people for interrogation.

Security personnel during a search operation in Narwal, Jammu, on Thursday. (PTI)
Security personnel during a search operation in Narwal, Jammu, on Thursday. (PTI)

The review meeting was chaired by Modi — before leaving for Italy to attend the G7 Summit — to take stock of the situation in the Union Territory. National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, and senior Prime Minister’s Office and ministry of home affairs (MHA) officials also attended the meeting.

Officials who asked not to be named said that Modi was apprised of steps being taken to locate the terrorists, recently infiltrated from Pakistan, strengthening the security grid, and relief being provided to the victims.

Modi, said an officer who didn’t want to be named, asked the security forces “to deploy the full spectrum of our counterterror capabilities”.

The PM is also learnt to have spoken to the home minister Amit Shah and J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha.

In four back-to-back terror attacks in Reasi, Kathua and Doda districts since Sunday, highly trained foreign terrorists from Pakistan have targeted civilians and security forces.

In one attack, a group of three to four militants opened fire on a joint check post of the 4 Rashtriya Rifles and the Jammu & Kashmir Police in Doda’s Chattargala area on the Bhaderwah-Pathankot road at 1.45am on Wednesday. The ensuing gunbattle lasted several hours, leaving five army personnel and a special police officer injured.

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On Wednesday evening, officers said the second attack was on in the Kota Top area, 150km away from Chhattargala, when a second group of terrorists attacked a police team and injured head constable Fareed Ahmed.

Roughly 220km away in Kathua another gunbattle began late on Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday morning, leaving one Central Reserve Police Force jawan dead, six security personnel and one civilian injured, and two terrorists neutralised.

The three gunfights came on the heels of an attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Reasi on Sunday, when armed terrorists opened fire on the vehicle, causing it to lose control and plunge into a gorge, with nine people dead and 42 others injured.

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The string of attacks have sent ripples through the region fast becoming the hotbed of cross-border terrorism in the restive Union Territory. Intelligence agencies have estimated the presence of 70-80 recently infiltrated foreign terrorists in the region. The Border Security Force (BSF), the Indian Army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the J&K Police have been put on high alert as a manhunt is on for the terrorists.

Jammu has suffered at least seven terror attacks over the past year. After Wednesday night’s encounter in Doda, the sketches of four suspected terrorists were also released by the local administration.

With the Amarnath Yatra beginning soon, for which thousands of devotees will travel to the Valley, Shah will also hold a meeting with the ground forces and the intelligence agencies and discuss in detail the area domination plan, the law and order situation, and the status of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act cases against known suspects — lodged in prisons or out on bail — said a counterterrorism official who asked not to be named.

“The strategies that will be put in place include — round-the-clock nakas (check-points) at strategic points, group security in the form of static guards, intensified cordon and search operations to effectively deal with the challenges posed by terrorist organisations, and sharing of intelligence inputs on a real-time basis among all security forces operating in Jammu & Kashmir, particularly in the Rajouri, Poonch, Doda and Reasi regions,” said the official.

“We are also focusing on building a foolproof anti-infiltration grid and plug the gaps so that Pakistan is not able to send more terrorists,” this officer added.

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A second security official said other strategies being implemented include day and night area domination, preventive operations to identify the strategic supporters (referring to overground workers who provide logistical support) of terrorism, and initiating investigations to expose their mechanisms of aiding and abetting terrorism, identifications of vulnerable spots to prevent terrorist attacks on civilians and sensitising troops on the ground about the issue.

The government believes that the bolstered strategy will help stave off further attacks, which, it says, are on the wane since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

According to the official ministry of home affairs (MHA) data, 44 incidents initiated by terrorists were reported in J&K in 2023 compared to 228 in 2018 (before the abrogation of Article 370), 48 encounters were reported in 2023 between terrorists and security forces compared to 189 in 2018. In these incidents, 13 civilians and 26 security personnel were killed in 2023, compared to 55 and 91 deaths, respectively, in 2018.

“We are working towards achieving zero-tolerance against terrorism, and a 360-degree security mechanism is being strengthened to completely eliminate the support and information system of terrorists,” a third security official said.

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