An uneasy calm prevails in the Kashmir valley, with security forces maintaining a firm upper hand, government insiders said after Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Jammu and Kashmir political leaders for a dialogue on Thursday in preparations for possible assembly elections in the coming months.
Fewer than 61 incidents of terrorist violence were recorded till June, compared to 102 incidents during the corresponding period last year. The number of stone pelting incidents in the valley has decreased by 75%, compared to 2020. In 2019, there were 1,999 incidents of stone-pelting, of which 1,193 took place after the Centre diluted Article 370 which granted special status to the erstwhile state.
The decline in infiltration is directly linked to the ceasefire agreement reached at the Line of Control between armies of India and Pakistan on February 25 and has been maintained, with no incidents of provocative cross-border firing. With peace on the border, there has been no infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir since February. Officials said terror activity at the moment is limited to cadres that remain underground in the Union Territory.
Against almost 590 incidents of ceasefire violation till February 25, guns have not boomed on the border in the past four months. “Regular firing on the border by Pakistani forces was largely directed at distracting their own troops and providing cover for infiltrators. The ceasefire has reduced the chances of successful infiltration and a strict vigil has been maintained on the border,” an official said.
However, terror training camps remain active in PoK and if state support returns, the clock can turn back rapidly as summer months are ideal for attempts to breach the LoC, the official said. Some terror launch pads have been shifted away from LoC as the ceasefire holds. The infrastructure has not been dismantled but relocated, he said.
“Terrorist presence continues in PoK and Pakistan and infiltration attempts could take place in coming months. The Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Al Badr continue activities across the border,” another official said.
Army chief Gen MM Naravane has been monitoring the ceasefire and has been holding regular meetings with top officers in Jammu and Kashmir. Clear instructions have been passed not to carry out provocative incidents on the border. The army chief had also visited the valley earlier this month to take stock of 100 days of the ceasefire.
On the recruitment front, officials said a fog remains on locals joining terror ranks in the Valley. While the official number of youths who joined terror organisations this year is 38, as many as 67 youths are reported as ‘missing’, with efforts on to trace their whereabouts. According to internal estimates, 81 youths had joined terror ranks by this time last year.