Army Fears Rise in Infiltration in Kashmir

Srinagar, July 11: A top army commander Monday said army fears rise in infiltration attempts by militants in the coming months and maintained that next few months to decide controversial AFSPA’s fate in the region.

Interacting with media on sidelines of a function at Beerwah, Budgam in central Kashmir, General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen S A Hasnain said so far five infiltration attempts had been foiled on the Line of Control by the vigilant security men. “Two militants had been killed. We expect a rise in infiltration attempts over the next couple of months and are fully prepared to foil such attempts,” he said.

In response to a question regarding purchase of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani’s recently released book, he said, “There is no controversy in purchasing the book. Geelani is a ‘buzurg’ (elderly man) who is espousing his ideas. As a professional, it is our duty to know of perceptions of various people, whether we agree with them or not.”

On controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which grants immunity to army men for their acts in Kashmir, army officer said, “We have given our views to the Government. The consultative process is on and a sustained period of peace over the next few months will certainly be an important factor. There are 42 militants camps with approximately 700 militants (numbers could vary) still functioning across the border”.

In reply to a question that people in Kashmir were facing hardships due to check posts, he said, “Over the last few years, static check posts have been removed and temporary Check Posts, based on intelligence reports of militants movement, are set up. This is a measure to provide security to the people and ensure that militants are not able to disrupt the peaceful lives of people”.

Responding to a question, army commander said, “I am a Kashmiri at heart. The people of Kashmir, the beauty of the Valley and Kashmiriyat – the ethos of Kashmir – are close to me. If I get a chance ever, I would certainly like to re-live this association”.