NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s ISI-trained Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists, who ambushed a CRPF convoy in Pampore last month, had originally planned to attack spots along the National Highway to spread fear ahead of the Amarnath Yatra.
“More than 300 fidayeen trained by the ISI and its proxy terror outfits are camping at launch pads along the Amarnath Yatra route, which is on top of the terror targets,” said sources, quoting terror intercepts.
The yatra will witness over 1.43 lakh footfalls. Terrorist chatter, sources said, intensified about a month ago when the first intel input on fighter concentration at terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was shared with security forces. The fallout of an assault on the yatra could also foment communal tensions in Uttar Pradesh, ahead of the rapidly polarising pre-poll scenario. But this time, the terrorists abruptly changed their plans, deciding instead to strike closer to their hideouts as security forces were closing in on their cells in the area.
A meeting of top security brass convened in Delhi last week discussed the information gathered over the last month, which revealed Pakistan’s sinister plot to attack the pilgrimage.
Sources say most communications between terrorists and their handlers are over launching fidayeen strikes. The latest input makes clear “the possibility of a dare devil attempt-fidayeen attack-to disrupt 48-day long Yatra beginning July 2 is very real.”
“The major concentration of terrorists is at camps falling opposite Anantnag and Baramulla districts of J&K,” the latest input said. According to the reports, Bokhragali, also known as MS-9316, in security lexicon, is a Pakistani terrorist launch pad opposite Baramulla. Intercepts indicate the presence of large group of fidayeen in Bokhragali area. They are likely to attempt infiltration in small units.
A large force of terrorists divided into two groups of 25 each was reported at Shardi, aka MT-1679. A gang of 30 terrorists is waiting at Nikial and Sensa, aka MX-7842. They were trained at the Sensa camp run by Pakistan’s ISI. Another launch pad is at Topa Girdan, which is also a 651 Pakistani Mujahid Battalion post. Sources said these posts work as safe houses and launch pads for terrorists.
Infiltration has already happened in recent days in the Rajouri segment through Mirpur and Bhimbar. The movement of unknown gunmen is being shared almost on a daily basis with security forces. Official sources said terrorists are strengthening their hold on strategic locations like Awantipora, along the National Highway, Zainapora and Jamnagri. These locations are close to the route that connects Srinagar to Pahalgam-the starting point of the Amarnath Yatra.
Massive manhunt on
Intelligence inputs suggest that terrorists are hibernating close to Kokernag and Goriwan Bijbehara in Anantnag and other hideouts closer to Pahalgam. Security forces have launched a massive manhunt in Doodhkulian forest, Larowjagir, Khalil, Panzoo, Lurgam, Ariga Hyna Panner,Wachee, Dogripra, Baigpora and Janglennad, where the main hideouts of Pak-trained terrorists are suspected to exist.
Security has been beefed up along the yatra route and was reviewed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and top intelligence and security officials. Round-the-clock monitoring of the route has been put in place.
The Border Security Force will conduct enhanced movement of road-clearing parties. Frequent IED check drills will also be carried out.
The state government’s suggestion was to cut down the number of days of the Yatra, in view of the specific threat perception. But a section of local BJP leadership as well as the temple administration, which reports to the Governor, opposed the suggestion.