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SRINAGAR, Jun. 12, 2023 (TBINN)

A dangerous move by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and heads of terror groups to rope in women and juveniles to carry weapons and messages has come to light amid a decline in the use of traditional means of communication by terrorists in Kashmir Valley, a top Army officer said.

General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, also known as Chinar Corps, Lt Gen. Amardeep Singh Aujla also said the forces need to be cautious as people sitting across the Line of Control (LoC) are busy scheming and planning to disturb the prevailing peaceful atmosphere. Today’s threat, as I see it, is involving women, girls and juveniles in carrying messages, drugs or, at times, weapons.

So far, Army has detected some cases highlighting an emerging trend which in itself is a dangerous move that Pakistan’s I.S.I. and heads of tanzeems (terror groups) have adopted. We, along with other agencies, are jointly working out on this, Lt Gen. Aujla told the Press. Asked if it means that terror groups have stopped using mobile communication, Army officer said the Techint (Technical Intelligence) signatures have reduced considerably. Also, many Over Ground Workers who acted as conduits for them have been picked up. Therefore, now women, girls and juveniles have been roped in as an alternative to mainly carry messages, Army officer in the Valley said.

As part of the deradicalisation strategy, Army, with the co-operation of the Union Territory Administration, has undertaken a series of initiatives, one of which is Sahi Rasta or Right Path Programme that has, in recent times, proved to be a game changer in the right earnest. We have come a long way in ensuring peace and stability in Kashmir, but I will be naive to claim an early victory as we feel that every gain needs to be cemented before achieving lasting peace in the Union territory, he underlined.

Without naming Pakistan, Lt Gen. Aujla said the challenge is that the neighbouring country has not given up on its intent and is repeatedly creating trouble on both sides of Pir Panjal. The latest infiltration bid in the Machil Sector of North Kashmir is a testimony of his blatant indulgence. He stressed that all security agencies, including those from the Union Territory Administration, were well geared up to thwart any nefarious designs of the adversary. The propensity of infiltration along the Line of Control in Kashmir may have shown some decrease but there have been some attempts in South of Pir Panjal as well as neighbouring Punjab.

We need to be cautious and not let our guard down at any cost. National security is our prime responsibility. We will leave no stone unturned to maintain it, he said. We are cognisant of the likely threats from across and accordingly ensure to the best of our abilities that the current peace and normalcy achieved through collective efforts is not put at risk by inimical elements, he said and added that the mounting pressure and actionable intelligence-based operations have kept the terrorists on their toes and a majority of them have either migrated out of the valley or have been lying low. The invisible form of terrorism is a cause of concern and we are jointly working towards weeding out this phenomenon, officer maintained.

It is difficult to give exact number of terrorists, either local or foreign, but to my estimates, it is definitely at its lowest since the past 33 years, officer informed.

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