Security agencies have foiled 92% of terror attacks in the Jammu division in the past three years, an indication of the heightened militant activity in the region after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) under Article 370 of the Constitution was read down on August 5, 2019.
The twin terror attacks on January 1 and 2 in Rajouri’s Dangri village, where seven persons including two children of the Hindu community were killed, have brought to the fore the continued attempts to revive militancy in the Jammu division, which has seen relative peace in the last two decades compared to the Kashmir Valley. The unidentified terrorists involved in the attack remain at large.
The Jammu division as well as the Kashmir Valley have witnessed the targeted killing of Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus in the past two years. After a lull in activity in the COVID-affected period of 2020 till mid-2021, there have been spate of such killings.
The Chenab Valley comprising Doda, Kishtwar, and Ramban districts and the Pir Panjal region comprising Rajouri and Poonch districts in Jammu have witnessed targeted attacks and infiltration from across the border in the past three years, a senior government official said.
It is in this backdrop that civilians in border villages of Jammu are being armed by the government under the Village Defence Guards (VDGs) scheme.
The official said that in the past three years, 240 weapons and 570 grenades have been seized in Jammu.
“Around 70 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were detected in the past three years, out of which six exploded. Though we have around 92% success in thwarting the attacks, the difficult terrain and new methods adopted by the terror groups pose a challenge,” said the official.
On January 13, Home Minister Amit Shah visited Jammu when he said that in the next three months, the security grid in every area of Jammu would be made impenetrable by further strengthening it.
Another official explained that the recovery of huge amount of explosives points to an organised attempt to foment trouble in the Jammu region as well as the Kashmir Valley.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to increase the presence of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Rajouri and Poonch districts. The Rashtriya Rifles (RR) unit of the Army that is deployed on highways and main roads along the Line of Control (LoC) is likely to be divested of the task of providing security to road-opening parties, and the job will be handed over to CRPF instead, an official said adding that this will give the Army more time to focus on operations against terrorists.
Officials suspect that large quantity of arms and explosives are making their way to the region from across the border with the help of drones.
On January 22, two blasts in Jammu’s Narwal area injured nine persons and IEDs are suspected to have been involved in the blasts.
It was in April 2022 in Narwal, close to International Boundary with Pakistan, two unidentified Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants, apparently on a suicide mission, were killed, just two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first public address in J&K since reading down of Article 370. The operation was based on specific intelligence inputs.
On eve of Republic Day this year, Captain Rakesh T.R. of the 9 th Battalion, Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) was conferred with a Shaurya Chakra for thwarting the fidayeen attack on PM’s rally.
One Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer was killed and four security personnel were injured in the gunfight with the two militants.