Centre asks security agencies in J&K to enforce security plans vigorously

Hunt on for LeT commander Abu Ismail
Report by: 
Agencies
NEW DELHI
12 Jul 2017

Security agencies engaged in anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir have been told by the Centre to implement security plans with full vigour.

The directive from the Union government came in the wake of the killing of seven Amarnath pilgrims in a terror attack on Monday. Security agencies were told to implement the security plans vigorously, a home ministry official said, indicating that the anti-militancy operations will be intensified. Two Union ministers - Jitendra Singh and Hansraj Ahir, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, and CRPF DGP R R Bhatnagar have visited the Kashmir Valley in the last two days. The instructions have been given to all forces engaged in anti-militancy operations, the official said.

Highest level of alert has already been sounded across Jammu and Kashmir while Amarnath pilgrims will be provided enhanced security along the two pilgrimage routes. Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and ordered enhanced security for the Amarnath Yatra following the terror attack on devotees.
The home minister took stock of the prevailing situation in Kashmir Valley, particularly on the routes to the shrine located in the Himalayas at an altitude of 12,756 feet, during an hour-long meeting. Sources said Singh had directed the officials to ensure enhanced security for the pilgrims. The pilgrimage started on June 29 and will conclude on August 7. As many as 21,000 paramilitary personnel in addition to state police forces have been deployed for security of the pilgrimage routes. The number of paramilitary personnel deployed this year is 9,500 more than last year.

Security forces have launched a massive hunt to track down Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander and Pakistani national Abu Ismail, who has emerged as the mastermind of the dattack on pilgrims. Proactive operations have been launched, mainly in south Kashmir, to track down Ismail as investigations including communication intercepts have pointed out to his involvement in the attack on Amarnath pilgrims, a senior police official said Seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, were killed and 19 injured when terrorists attacked a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district on Monday evening. The official said the attack in Anantnag appears to be a reprisal for killing of several Lashkar militants including Bashir Lashkari in an encounter with security forces earlier this month

"The terrorists are frustrated at the back to back losses suffered by them during counter-insurgency operations over the past month or so and have now resorted to attacking civilians and tourists," he said. According to the official, Ismail has been active in Kashmir for several years and had moved base to south Kashmir more than a year ago The Anantnag attack on Amarnath pilgrims came the same day when police announced arrest of a module of LeT including a Hindu terrorist hailing from Muzaffaranagar area of Uttar Pradesh. Lashkar has not only distanced itself from the attack on Amarnath pilgrims but also condemned the attack LeT spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi, while condemning the attack on pilgrims, has said, "It is against Islamic teachings"

The market in Pahalgam near the Nunwan base camp of the Amarnath yatra today observed a shutdown to protest against the terror attack. The yatra, which passes through the Pahalgam market along the traditional route to the cave shrine, was, however, going on smoothly. "The shops and other business establishments in Pahalgam tourist resort observed a complete shutdown today in protests against the attack on Amarnath pilgrims," a police official said. Several trade bodies including the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, travel and tourism players; and civil society groups yesterday held silent protest against the attack on the pilgrims.

Most of the business establishments in southern Gujarat's Valsad town today remained shut in response to a bandh called by various groups to protest the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims. Three persons from Valsad were among the seven pilgrims killed in the terror attack in Kashmir's Anantnag district on Monday evening. While schools, colleges and offices remained open in Valsad town, most of the markets and other commercial areas wore a deserted look as the businessmen voluntarily decided to shut their shops in response to the bandh call. Valsad's major business areas on M G Road, Azad Chowk, Tower road and vegetable markets remained totally shut. "The shopkeepers decided to shut their establishments today over the Amarnath terror attack. Though schools, colleges and offices are open, all the major markets are closed," Valsad Collector C R Kharsan said.