NATIONAL

Militants being sustained from across the border?

Kathua Sept. 6. Pakistan's security and intelligence services appear to have opened one or more supply lines to sustain the militants fighting against Indian troops in Kathua district's dense forests, senior Army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, were quoted as saying on Saturday.

With the encounter entering the fifth day the assessment here is that there are more militants than originally estimated. Officials coordinating the security operation say there appeared to be more than seven militants. In another reassessment of the situation, the officials said that though they had earlier claimed that the militants were encircled, it now appeared that the terrain over the three square km area with six feet high maize crop, had enabled the opening up of ammunition and food supply routes from the Pakistan side. "They are getting ordnance replenishments from Pakistan," said an Army officer.

On the nature of the militants' mission, they said this was no ordinary infiltration. "It looks more and more clear that they came with a mission to establish posts in district Kathua, which they would then use to attack small villages which dot this forlorn district hidden in thick foliage," said one source.

An alert villager who spotted the militants immediately informed policemen at Rajbagh, 18 km from Kathua town, who probably saved what could have been a terrible situation. When the local police took stock of the situation, they realised that it was an extraordinary infiltration and immediately radioed Jammu for help. — ANI.

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