As security forces focus on South, militancy on rise in North

250 militants on launch pads in PoK

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Mar 30: After major operations conducted last year in South Kashmir in which top commanders of various militant outfits were killed, the militancy has increased in North Kashmir which was comparatively silent for many years.
Sources said that there are 215 militants operating in North Kashmir with majority of them foreigners and it has posed a challenge for the security forces as more are waiting on launch pads for infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Sources said that in Kupwara district of North Kashmir there are 50-80 militants operating with 40-60 belonging to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), 10-15 to Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and 3-4 to Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). They are operating in Lolab, Kandi, Chowkibal, Kralpora, Trehgam and Kalaroos areas.
They said that in Handwara there are 30-40 militants with 20-25 belonging to LeT, 5-8 to JeM and 5 to HM. They are mostly operating in Rajwar, Kandi, Nowgam, Kralgund, Zachaldara and Mawar areas.
In Sopore area of Baramulla district, as per sources, there are 15-20 LeT, 30-40 JeM and 3 militants of other organizations active in the areas of Sopore town, Kandi, Rafiabad, Tarzoo, Shiva, Zainghiri, Brat, Cherhar and Zaloora.
In Bandipora district of North Kashmir there are 20-25 LeT and 5 JeM militants operating in the areas of main town Bandipora, Kandi, Ajas, Hajan, Safapora and upper reaches of Bandipora.
In Baramulla there are 10 LeT and 5 JeM operating in the areas of main town, Kandi, Tangmarg, Kunzar, Pattan, Palhallan, Kreeri and upper reaches of Baramulla district.
Sources said that 80-100 militants are waiting on the launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir near the LOC ready for infiltration in areas opposite to the operational area of 19 Division of Army. And 100-150 militants are waiting in the areas opposite to the operational area of 28 Division of Army. They said that most of these militants belong to LeT, JeM, Hizb, Harkatul Mujahideen and Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen.
Sources said that there are 28 launch pads in PoK where these militants are taken before they are infiltrated into Kashmir after reconnaissance. They said that this year JeM is more active than LeT and mostly the Jaish cardes are being infiltrated.
With less snowfall this year, the infiltration has already started and security forces eliminated 5 highly armed militants of LeT who had infiltrated into Lashdath forests of Kupwara on March 16.
North Kashmir that was comparatively peaceful for last many years is becoming again hot now. Last year security forces achieved major successes and killed 208 militants including top commanders of JeM, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen in the ‘Operation All Out.’