The situation along the Line of Control is getting worse by the day, threatening to scale up into a major conflict between India and Pakistan. But the other disturbing fallout of the inflamed borders could be more militancy in Kashmir due to the enhanced infiltration under the cover of the Pakistani firing.
“Through the nineties, Pakistan pushed militants into Kashmir by engaging Indian forces in combat along the LoC,” said a J&K police officer not wishing to be named as he was not authorised to speak to India. “Islamabad could do so again. It will be an easier option than a bigger direct confrontation on the border”.
The officer pointed out the drastic dip in the infiltration since 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan and the consequent decline in Kashmir militancy.
This is also apparent from the progressive decline in the fatalities in the state since 2003. In 2002, about 3022 fatalities took place of the security personnel, militants and civilians and in comparison just 174 persons died in 2015. But this year, there has already been a conspicuous rise in the deaths. Around 233 persons have died in militancy related violence, 148 of them militants, 74 security personnel and 11 civilians.
This year also, there has been a three-fold increase in infiltration into Kashmir. Against 33 in 2015, as many as 105 militants have already infiltrated into Kashmir in the first nine months of 2016, Rajya Sabha was recently informed by Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir. There have been 121 infiltration attempts in the period. Such attempts have since increased further.
On Wednesday, the Army foiled two infiltration bids by militants along the LoC in Gulmarg and Nowgam sectors in the Kashmir Valley.
Violence is also showing signs of going up in Valley. On Friday, in two successive militancy related incidents, three security personnel and two militants were killed. Two militants and an army man were killed in a brief encounter in Naidkhai area of Hajin in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Two cops were killed and one injured in a militant attack in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district. The slain cops were identified as head constable Tanvir Ahmad Bhat ofKanipora village and constable Jalaludin of Bogund-Supar village in Kulgam district.
Besides, on Thursday, militants had also attacked a police station in Handwara area of Kupwara district. The attack was successfully repulsed and didn’t lead to any loss of life.
The 2003 ceasefire agreement had also reduced the number of the killings along the border.
According to Uppsala Conflict Data Programme, the estimated fatalities due to cross-border shelling was only one in 2008 and 2009, 20 in 2010, four in 2011, six in 2012, 20 in 2013, but the number leaped to 43 in 2014 and 29 in 2015.
Though over the past several years, India has fenced 1,987 km of the LoC, it is yet to sufficiently check the infiltration. The total border to be fenced is 2,071 km. So there are 84 kms left to be secured.
“Calm borders is important for peace in the state. Already the number of active militants, both foreign and the local has crossed 200,” said the police officer. “A further increase could due to rise in infiltration could push the situation over the edge in Kashmir”.