The daring terror strike on a police station and the Army unit in Jammu shows vital gaps in the security apparatus of India’s most fortified state as terrorists travelled close to 25 km on the Jammu-Pathankot highway in broad day-light without being chased or stopped at barricades on the road.
They drove smoothly in a civil truck to reach the 16 Cavalry unit located in Samba town and entered through the officer's mess gate around 7:30 am. “How come nobody from the police chased the car or informed the police units ahead to set up a road block?” said an army officer.
Officials suspect infiltrators entered the area through some gap in the international border, manned by the Border Security Forces (BSF).The IB is located about 10-km from Hiranagar where the police station was attacked. When asked, a BSF official refused to comment on the incident.The easy access seems to indicate a reconnaissance mission by the terrorists who spotted vulnerable gaps in the security ring to enter the army unit.
More than a fortnight ago, the Army and intelligence units launched a manhunt for 25 hard core militants who sneaked into the Mendhar sector for fomenting trouble in the hinterland. Despite having more than three lakh troops in the Jammu and Kashmir, there was no success in catching them as well as on getting specific intelligence inputs.
The attack on the Samba unit is probably the first big attack on an army establishment in Jammu region since the 2002 Kaluchak massacre in which three terrorists killed 3 Army personnel, 18 Army family members and 10 civilians.
Officials said of late there is a concerted effort on the part of infiltrators to expand their footprints in the south of Pir Panjal range extending the arc of violence from Baramulla to Jammu. Militants are infiltrating deep into the hinterland with the possible aim of engineering terrorist incidents and more terrorist activities can be seen in the Jammu region in future.
The strategy is starkly different from previous tactics when militants preferred north of Pir Panjal where they could mingle with villagers and hide for long. Till June, militants made 97 bids to cross over into Indian territory, out of which 42 were successful. But infiltration attempts and ceasefire violations from Pakistan – meant to give protective cover to the infiltrators – increased manifold in August and September.
“There is no reason to negotiate with Pakistan as it is not changing its position. We are crawling to them. We should tell them that until there is clear evidence that they are acting, we will not talk,” security analyst Ajai Sahni from the Institute for Conflict Management told Deccan Herald.