High alert in Kashmir over ‘Terrorist plot’ to target security installations

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Security personnel in Kashmir have been placed on high alert in the wake of inputs that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants may try to target their installations on the seventeenth day of Ramzan, which coincides with the Battle of Badr.

The Battle of Badr was a key battle in the early days of Islam and a turning point in Muhammad’s struggle with his opponents among the Quraish in Mecca.

Officials reportedly picked up wireless chatter indicating that some militants were planning to target security installations either in south Kashmir or Srinagar on that particular day. “Security forces have been placed on high alert with special instructions in light of these strong inputs. There were inputs of a similar attempt last year too, but the militants could not pull off the attacks due to increased cover,” a senior police officer familiar with the development said.

The inputs suggested that the attacks were supposed to be carried out by foreign militants affiliated to the JeM. “According to reports reaching us, militants in south Kashmir were assigned the responsibility of targeting the camps on the seventeenth day of Ramzan. We are not going to take any chances, and security has been beefed up,” said an officer deployed in south Kashmir.

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Police have already issued an advisory to its officers in charge of security installations, and asked them to follow the standing operating procedure in the eventuality of a terror attack. Additional security personnel have been deployed, and vigil is likely to be stepped up in such areas especially after dark. Additional bullet proof vehicles have been deployed close to police camps as well as highways. Special barricades and check posts have also been set up at various locations in the Valley to thwart militant movement.

Police sources said around two dozen newly infiltrated Jaish militants had split themselves in smaller groups in south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Shopian districts. The militants are believed to have infiltrated through the Pir Panjal mountains and have come on the security radar a fortnight ago.

After New Delhi announced the unilateral Ramzan ceasefire, the Jaish headed by Masood Azhar, claimed responsibility for many attacks in south Kashmir, including the attack on an Army camp at Pulwama and the IED attack on an Army vehicle in Shopian.

Nevertheless, seven militants were killed in two operations conducted in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district since the ceasefire call. Army officers said all of them were foreigners who attacked an army patrol after infiltrating into the Valley.