In recent times, Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu have increased manifold.
During the period of the past twenty five months, starting from October 2021, these border districts has seen killings of eight terrorists, with 29 security forces personnel and nine civilians losing there lives.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, this surge in terrorist activities against security forces and civilians can be attributed to various factors.
These include the hilly topography of Rajouri and Poonch, their proximity to the Line of Control (LoC), and the existence of traditional and more accessible infiltration routes compared to those in the Kashmir division of the Union Territory, and the abundance of dense jungles and natural caves.
According to the report, this also highlight the broader strategy of Pakistani handlers behind these terrorists.
This involves attempts to target Hindus in the hills of Jammu, forcing their migration. Simultaneously, it aims to compel security forces to relocate units to Jammu, thereby reducing their presence in Kashmir, and creating an ideal situation for infiltration into Kashmir.
Former Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP), DGP SP Vaid, who introduced the concept of village defence committees as the first line of defence, remarked, "Rajouri-Poonch have been activated for the last one and a half years because of their proximity to the LoC."
“The LoC here is easier to infiltrate compared to the Kashmir region where the border gets covered by snow during the winters. Once inside, the terrorists have many places like natural hideouts and significant boulders in dense forest areas,“ the former DGP further said.
Vaid added that when terrorists are cornered by security forces, they can either shift to the other side of the Pir Panjal into South Kashmir or even cross the LoC to return to Pakistan.
At the beginning of 2023, on 1 and 2 January, seven members of the Hindu community, including a four-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, lost their lives in a Pakistan-sponsored terror attack in Dhangri village in Poonch.
In the just-concluded encounter at the Bajimaal forest area in the Kalakote sub-division of Rajouri, one of the terrorists killed — Qari — belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and was responsible for this Dhangri attack.
Lt Gen JS Cheema, Former Deputy Chief of the Army Staff and ex-DG Infantry, who served in J&K during his 38 years of service in the army, stated, “They (Pakistan) keep changing their tactics. Rajouri was inactive for quite some time (in terms of terror attacks), and that inactivity may have made security forces complacent.”
“They exploited the situation. The recent terror incidents indicate that they are reactivating Rajouri now,” the Lt Gen added.
Rajouri serves as a transit route to Kashmir, explained the general, noting that mountain passes close during winters in Kashmir, shifting the focus to more accessible terrain like that in Rajouri.
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