Police says adequate measures in place
JAMMU, July 19: The network of Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of the militants has assumed alarming proportions in Jammu and Kashmir and was drastically rising even as number of the militants was on decline in view of vigorous operations being pursued against them by the security forces. Significantly, number of upper ground network of the militants was also very high even in the districts, where there was no active militant presently.
Official data compiled by the Agencies has put number of active militants in Jammu and Kashmir at 246 while number of their (the militants’) Over Ground Workers was nearly nine timer higher at 2186. The OGWs are known for luring teen-agers and youth into the militancy and also help the militants with funding and meeting their other requirements.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the over ground network of the militants was not only confined to Kashmir but has also been noticed in seven out of 10 districts of Jammu region. Even in the districts where there was no militants, as per the report, number of the Over Ground Workers was very high.
However, as per the data, Ladakh division was only ray of hope in the militancy-infested State where there was neither any militant nor any Over Ground Worker.
Describing number of Over Ground Workers mentioned in the report as “disturbing”, police officials told the Excelsior that they have divided the Over Ground Workers into three categories including ‘Active, Dormant and Past Record’.
“We are fully alive to the situation. We have mechanism in place to deal with upper ground network of the militants as they serve as backbone of the militancy. We have fully covered the Over Ground Workers of the militants and taken all possible measures to keep their activities to bare minimum,” a senior police official said admitting that number of the OGWs was high but said majority of them were lying low in view of pressure maintained on them by multiple security agencies engaged in anti-militancy operations.
The Over Ground Workers of the militants, they said, are known for conducting recce for the militants before carrying out the attack, shift their arms, ammunition and explosives, arrange safe hideouts for militants before and after the attack, also help militants when they are trapped in the gun battles, guide them to hideouts after their infiltration from the borders and sometimes themselves indulge in terror acts like throwing grenades on security installations and crowded areas or planting the Improvised Explosive Devices on the roads.
Asserting that police doesn’t take upper ground network of the militants lightly, the police official said they have to be tackled and tackled well in time so that they don’t succeed in luring teen-agers and youths into the militancy. He added that security and Intelligence agencies were maintaining strict surveillance on the Over Ground Workers to ensure that they are not able to help the militants.
According to the official data, there was no active militant in Reasi district of Jammu region but the number of Over Ground Workers was 182. Similarly in Ramban district, there were no active militants but number of the OGWs was 122. In Doda district, 74 OGWs were operating but there was no militant.
It has put the number of active militants in Kishtwar at seven and OGWs at 135. It said five militants were active in Rajouri and Poonch districts and there were 80 OGWs there. In Kathua district, number of the OGWs has been put at 135. However, in Jammu, Samba and Udhampur districts, there were no active militants or Over Ground Workers.
It has also listed district wise details of active militants and Over Ground Workers in the Kashmir valley.
In Kashmir valley, highest number of 39 militants were stated to be active in Shopian district along with 136 OGWs followed by 36 militants in Pulwama district in South Kashmir and 92 OGWs. In another South Kashmir district of Kulgam, there were 29 active militants and 317 OGWs. However, in Ganderbal district, there was no active militant but there were 38 OGWs.
Number of militants, OGWs
Distt Militants OGWs
Jammu 0 0
Reasi 0 182
Ramban 0 122
Samba 0 0
Doda 0 74
Kishtwar 7 135
Udhampur 0 0
Rajouri & 5 80
Kathua 0 135
Handwara 32 496
Kupwara 9 32
Baramulla 3 26
Sopore 15 30
Budgam 4 89
Shopian 39 136
Anantnag 23 130
Awantipora 25 71
Kulgam 29 317
Pulwama 36 92
Srinagar 11 112
Ganderbal 0 38