NSG commandos reach Valley to join anti-terror operations

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, June 21: With the Union Home Ministry having already cleared the deployment of elite National Security Guards (NSG) commandos in anti-terror operations across the Kashmir valley, the process for their joining some of the tough encounters has started.
According to the reports, couple of NSG teams have already been stationed on the outskirts of Srinagar and they were undergoing rigorous training before joining the encounters, where their need would be felt by the security agencies, which were presently conducting search operations against the militancy in the Valley after month long Ramzan ceasefire.
Excelsior had exclusively reported that the Union Home Ministry has cleared the deploying of NSG commandos, who are known as `Black Cats’ for deployment in the Valley to join some of the rare encounters against the militants.
Security agencies were of the view that presence of NSG commandos would help reduce casualties among security forces, particularly against the backdrop of the Centre’s plans to intensify operations against the militants after month long Ramzan ceasefire during which level of terror attacks had gone up especially on the eve of Eid celebrations when `Rising Kashmir’ Editor Shujaat Bukhari and his two PSOs were killed in broad day-light while Army soldier Aurangzeb was kidnapped and killed.
The NSG snipers, with their pin-point accuracy and the use of sophisticated equipment like through-the-wall radars, sniper rifles and corner shot assault weapons will help reduce casualty figures during the operations, according to sources.
Officials say there are high casualties when the security forces take on militants who are holed up inside buildings. The Army avoids these high-risk operations due to the human costs involved and tries to neutralize the militants by bringing down the building itself.
The NSG, along with their house intervention team commandos, will also have demolition experts for handling such situations.
“The `Black Cat’ commandos have latest equipment but they need practice on real-time basis and face real-life situations,” sources said.
The NSG’s core efficiency so far has been in counter-terrorism, counter-hijacking operations and proximate security for the VVIPs. It was used in the 90s in limited operations in Kashmir but thereafter is participating in the anti-militancy operations was stopped.
In some of the operations, Indian Air Force’s Garud commandos and Indian Navy’s elite fighters Marcos were also involved in the Valley.
The State was yesterday placed under Governor’s rule amidst indications that the Central Government planned to go tough to bring level of violence and militancy down to keep situation under control in the Valley to ensure peaceful annual pilgrimage to Shri Amarnath Ji cave shrine, which starts on June 28 and will continue till August 26.
The NSG teams, according to sources, will be kept at the disposal of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which is the nodal agency for all anti-militancy operations.
While the Union Home Ministry is upbeat about deploying the NSG in the Valley, counter-terror experts feel that the `black cats’ would be helpful in a situation where room-to-room intervention is required.
The move to deploy NSG commandos in Kashmir comes in the wake of increasing incidents of encounters where security forces have lost many soldiers during high-risk house intervention operations in densely populated localities.
The NSG commandos, when allowed, will get opportunities to test their skills and it will be a force-multiplier for anti-militancy forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, sources said.
The commandos use sophisticated Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine guns, sniper rifles, through-the-wall radar and C-4 explosives to eliminate holed up terrorists without causing much damage to the structure.
The Black Cat commandos were deployed to tackle terrorists who carried out the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, the January 2016 attack at the Pathankot air base as well as the terrorists who attacked the Akshardham temple in Gujarat.
There are around 7,500 personnel currently working with the NSG.