Hideouts in increased reaches and in search of refuge in native homes are a factor of the previous as terrorists in Kashmir valley now dig underground bunkers in dense orchards and even in seasonal streams to escape the dragnet of military and safety forces.
“This trend has been witnessed off late in twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian with the latter having a majority of them in view of dense apple orchards and jungles,” says Colonel A Ok Singh, heading the 44 Rashtriya Rifles, the military’s counter-insurgent unit which earned a distinction of getting most kills of terrorists in addition to surrenders or apprehensions.
Talking to PTI from the well-fortified 44-RR headquarters, Col Singh and his workforce is all the time seen partaking with locals to type out their issues which can even embrace profession counselling or steering in training however when it comes to countering terrorists, they’re much forward by neutralising 47 militants and guaranteeing detentions and give up of seven of them.
For Col Singh and his workforce, who man two areas of Shopian and three of Pulwama districts, each thought-about to be hotbeds of militancy, the duty has not been straightforward after restoration of underground bunkers the place terrorists might conceal for a number of days with out being seen by the safety forces.
The shocker was a hideout in the center of Rambi Ara, identified for fluctuating water ranges and sometimes affected by flash floods, that led Col Singh and his workforce members again to the drafting board.
“The terrorists have been hiding inside an iron bunker made in the center of Rambi Ara. The alert troops noticed a gap of an empty oil barrel which was subsequently utilized by terrorists to enter into the bunker.
“This was something worth suspicion and discreet surveillance was mounted on the opening. Much to our surprise, we saw terrorists emerging out from underground in the middle of the stream, which generally has water gushing only in the rainy season,” he stated.
Five terrorists belonging to banned Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen have been killed after the troops launched an assault earlier this 12 months. However, for the military, it was not the statistics of the variety of kills however a worrisome development indicating that terrorists have been now well-entrenched contained in the underground bunkers.
With the assistance of technical intelligence coupled with human sources, a survey was ordered of surrounding areas particularly in Shopian and the outcomes have been encouraging as experiences of extra cavities in conventional Kashmiri households and underground bunkers began surfacing.
Covered by dense apple timber and located at a peak, the military discovered one other underground bunker in Bandpoh in June this 12 months the place terrorists had managed to create a 12 ft by 10 ft room. The militants have been having fun with their keep whereas military troopers have been on the lookout for them in different civilian areas.
The underground bunker lastly lay uncovered after troops seen a polythene sheet masking nothing and the earth close by was stuffed not too long ago.
“The tough second for us throughout this operation was the presence of practically 50 girls in the orchards which included one who was pregnant. We initiated an evacuation course of and rushed the pregnant girl to a close-by well being centre earlier than launching an operation.
Five terrorists have been gunned down across the underground bunker, says Col Singh, who after taking on the command of 44-Rashtriya Rifles had visited some civilian houses whose kins had joined terror teams. The officer suggested the members of the family to guarantee their return and warranted them of all potential help.
Another fascinating conceal and search technique was witnessed in Labipora in Shopian the place terrorists had lined an iron field on the banks of a river and stored a small pipe for respiration whereas hiding underground.
“This list is long and I am sure we will be able to dig more underground bunkers,” Col Singh stated.
Artificial cavities in regular households have been additionally seen in these areas and at many locations, underground bunkers discovered their method by the basement of the homes.
“In Amarbug area of Shopian, we found a small underground room with dimensions of 10 feet in length, 8 feet in height and 6 feet in depth being built adjacent to a boundary wall of a house. The bunker was well equipped where even mobile phones were charged using the inverter batteries,” he stated.