Threat perception: Army chief's family shifted

Jammu Sept. 21. Concerned over the threat perception to the family of the Chief of the Army Staff, Nirmal Chander Vij, security agencies have shifted his family members from their ancestral home in the heart of Jammu to the Army Cantonment. Gen. Vij hails from Jammu and his family, including his parents, continue to reside in the old part of the city.

Well-placed police sources told The Hindu that the General's family faced a threat since he assumed charge as Army Chief. An Army picket was deployed to guard the house.

A fortnight ago, security forces nabbed a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, Sajjad, a resident of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, after an encounter. During interrogation, he reportedly disclosed that he had sneaked into Kashmir with a plan to launch a fidayeen attack on the General's house. A detailed map carrying the location of the house was recovered from him. The militant named a couple of local suspects from the Talab Khatikan area. But there were no such addresses.

Special teams were deployed to guard the house on Monday last. Initially, a massive security ring of the police was thrown around the house, located in the congested Naraniyan Mohalla locality. However, senior police officers felt that it would not be possible to prevent a militant attack on the house, located in a densely-populated locality. In their major strikes in Jammu, militants had used the narrow lanes to carry fidayeen attacks.

For the time being, the family has been shifted to the Army Cantonment, Gandhi Nagar. While Gen. Vij's wife and children are staying in New Delhi, his brothers and parents were staying in the ancestral home. Gen. Vij had visited the house, where he stayed till his schooling, once after taking over as Army Chief early this year.

A top police officer said: "Due to various security reasons, the family will ultimately shift to Delhi."

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