Srinagar, June 22 : Two additional Army battalions — about 2,000 men — have started moving into four troubled South Kashmir districts, being described as the new “ground zero” because of increased militant activity, officials said.
With the presence of additional forces in Kulgam, Anantnag, Shopian and Pulwama, some army camps in Shopian and Pulwama would be revived, they said.
The officials said the forces, being sent as reinforcements, had already started moving to Kashmir and would be posted to some of the more vulnerable areas of the districts.
Major General B S Raju, General Officer Command of the Army’s Victor Force, whose area of responsibility is South Kashmir, yesterday surveyed the region.
The decision on redeployment was taken after intelligence reports said South Kashmir had turned into a militant hub.
Officials said army camps had been set up to help locals who were “possibly intimidated” by the militants.
The places where camps are being set up include Lidder in Pulwama, which officials see as the base for militants shuttling between Shopian, Pulwama and Budgam in Central Kashmir.
Sources said new camps would be established at Zainpora, on the border of Heff Shremal, and the Khudwani and Nagbal areas which fall in these four districts.
The Army has also launched a programme to meet villagers and to talk to them about the need to stay away from counter- insurgency operations, they said.
The sources said locals were often herded towards an encounter site by members of militant groups to hamper army operations.
“Once a semblance of security is ensured in these areas, people may not follow the diktats,” an official said.