Security agencies fail to counter highway terror attack

Last Updated 14 February 2019, 12:27 IST

Despite multiple deadly attacks on security forces convoys on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in recent years, security agencies have failed to counter the strategy of militants to inflict maximum damages on them.

In 2017, after number of deadly attacks on security forces' convoys on the highway, the security agencies had decided to install CCTV cameras, deployment of additional forces and preventing civilian vehicles to enter in between convoys as some of the measures to counter the militant strategy.

While Srinagar-Jammu national highway is 294 km long, it is the 35-km stretch between Bijbehera town to Pampore in south Kashmir that is turning out to be a death trap for security forces. In the last three years, militants have targeted forces frequently on this segment, resulting in dozens of casualties to security forces.

Sources said though the CCTV cameras were installed at various points on the highway, they couldn’t prove effective in pre-empting the militant strikes. “Not all the places have been covered and even some of the CCTVs which were installed are not working properly,” they revealed. “Effective measures to deter militant attacks need to be taken at the earliest.”

A senior police officer told DH that despite rising attacks since December 2015, there has been increase in deployment of forces on this vulnerable stretch that connects Valley with rest of the country and is used to carry supplies to the Srinagar-based 15 Corps.

However, he said, the latest deadly attack is a wake-up call for security officers to conduct reviews. Asked why militants, again and again, succeed in attacking security convoys in the area, he said, "The national highway, Jhelum river and the railway track crisscross here, so it becomes easy for militants to target security forces. Besides, the terrain also favours such attacks.”

Besides, he said, the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and Jaish have a good network of over ground workers (OGWs) in areas adjacent to the national highway. “After the successful counter-insurgency operations in 2018, militant organisations have started pooling their resources to regroup and today’s attack seems to be the handiwork of all the three terror outfits,” he added.

(Published 14 February 2019, 12:27 IST)

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