‘Pakistan Army violating truce to fan Kashmir separatism’

August 22nd, 2008 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) Aiming to regain its space in the country’s polity, the Pakistan Army is now resorting to repeated ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir to gain public sympathy and simultaneously signal its solidarity with separatist elements in the Valley, the Indian Army says.“Earlier, there used to be around two ceasefire violations a month along the LoC. But after mid-July, there has been a spurt in the incidents,” a senior army officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

During April-August there have been 29 instances of truce violations. One incident was reported in April, two in May and seven in June. The figure rose to 10 in July, while nine violations have taken place so far in August.

“The ceasefire violations also have a pattern. The firing is not directed towards our posts but at some distance away. Also, they do not try to provoke us except for one incident (in July when an Indian Army soldier was killed),” the officer pointed out.

“The Pakistani Army is basically giving out signals to the separatists in the valley that ‘We are with you’. Also, it is trying to gain public sympathy back home,” the officer added.

The truce violations apart, infiltration from across the border is the other major issue the Indian Army faces in Kashmir - apart from controlling militancy in the state.

According to intelligence reports, over 800 terrorists are waiting in launch pads across the border to sneak into Kashmir.

“The terrorists have been in the launch pads for quite some time now in nearly 40 camps in PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) and in Punjab and Balochistan that are out of the public glare,” the officer added.

Infiltration into Kashmir normally begins at the end of March when the snows in the Himalayan ranges melt and the passes become accessible. Between March and July, the Indian Army says, there have been over 130 infiltration bids, of which just about 20 succeeded.

“Given that the majority of infiltration bids have been foiled, the Pakistan Army is now trying to utilize separatist elements like Syed Ali Shah Geelani (of the Hurriyat’s hardline faction) to foment trouble in the state,” the officer said.

“The terrorists are desperate as they have not been able to execute any major incidents in the state. And they got an adequate opportunity on Aug 15 in the form of the ‘Azadi rally’ which acted as trigger (for the seperatists’ call for independence),” the officer added.

In all this, there has been a 50 percent decline in militant-provoked violence this year.

The insurgency in Kashmir apart, the state has been on the boil for almost three months over a bitter row over the transfer of land to the board that manages the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath shrine in the Kashmir Valley that has sharply polarised the state along religious lines.

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