New Delhi: The Indian Army on Friday said it has confirmed inputs about Pakistan trying to disrupt the Amarnath Yatra, adding that mines and ammunition had been recovered along the route.
A few hours after the announcement, the Jammu and Kashmir government issued an appeal asking pilgrims on the annual Amarnath Yatra to return back immediately in view of the terror threat.
Addressing a press conference, Chinar Corps Commander Lt General KJS Dhillon said the neighbour was trying to disrupt peace in the Valley but they would not be tolerated.
Dhillon insisted that the situation on the LoC was under control and peaceful and infiltration bids by Pakistan were being successfully thwarted. He said that searches are going on in Shopian where an attempt to attack security forces was made on Thursday night.
“The type of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) we are examining and the IED expert terrorists we are capturing and eliminating point to the fact that Pakistan is trying to disrupt peace in Kashmir. We assure 'awaam' of Kashmir that no one will be allowed to disrupt peace,” he said.
Dhillon added, “Pakistan Army landmines have also been recovered. This clearly indicates that Pakistan Army is involved in terrorism in Kashmir. An M-24 American sniper rifle with a telescope was also recovered from a terror cache along the Amarnath Yatra route.”
Dhillon refused to give the exact location from where the recovery was made as the search operation was still going on. He said the threat of IEDs in the state is more "pronounced" in the hinterland even as the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) remains "largely peaceful".
Jammu & Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh, who also addressed the joint briefing, said, “The overall number of active militants in the Valley and in the Jammu region has come down.”
When asked about the increase in troop numbers in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said, "We're getting inputs that violence levels are likely to be increased by militants. So, we've tried to strengthen the grid on the ground. Also, we've been told that troops must get time to relax. This is time for turnover."
Refusing to give the exact number of additional troops being sent to the Valley, Singh said they will give on-ground troops some time to relax and strengthen the security system.
More than 10 serious attempts to trigger IED blasts were made in the Valley, mostly in Pulwama and Shopian areas, Kashmir Inspector General SP Pani said. The Army also said that 83% of terrorists have a history of stone pelting.
The two commanders also made an emphatic appeal to mothers of the Valley. “We had done in-depth analysis of terrorism in Kashmir. 83 per cent of local people who pick up weapons had record of stone pelting. I request all mothers; if today your child throws stones at security forces for Rs 500, he'll become a terrorist tomorrow.”
CRPF Inspector General Zulfiqar Hasan said, “The Amarnath Yatra has seen unprecedented turnout and despite many threats, it has been peaceful. There have been serious attempts to disrupt the yatra but they were unsuccessful due to hard work of security personnel, use of technology and cooperation of people.”