Militants targeting forces with grenades in J&K

Militants targeting forces with grenades in J&K

There has been a spurt in grenade attack cases in the recent days

Police personnel collect samples after a grenade attack by militants who were reportedly targeting a CRPF picket, at City Centre Lal Chowk in Srinagar, Friday, Jan 18, 2019. (PTI Photo)

With security forces upping the ante by killing over 250 militants last year, the terrorists have, of late, started to hit back by carrying grenade attacks on forces in crowded places.

There has been a spurt in grenade attack cases in recent days, especially in Srinagar city. What is worrisome for the security forces is that these attacks are coming up at a time when they are already on a high alert.

With Republic Day just around the corner, the grenade attacks have prompted the security agencies to go in a huddle to thwart any major strike. Pertinently, Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant outfit has claimed responsibility of all the attacks since January 11.

Advocating the idea of pan-Islamism, Jaish was founded by 49-year-old Maulana Masood Azhar in 2000 after he was released in exchange for passengers of Indian Airlines flight IC 814. Jaish was instrumental in carrying fidayeen phase of attacks in Kashmir from early to the mid-last decade. Although Jaish’s presence in the Valley still remains low, it carried several audacious fidayeen attacks on security forces including the Army in 2017.

A senior police officer dealing with counter-insurgency operations said it looks like that the Jaish has received a fresh consignment of grenades and they are targeting forces just to create an impression that militants were present and militancy alive in the Valley.

“If the recent attacks are an indication, it seems that militants have revived the strategy of lobbing grenades at security forces and on the roads. Throwing grenades at busy places is either aimed to provoke the security forces to fire indiscriminately or create a fear among them that they are vulnerable to such attacks,” he said.

The officer said that the use of grenades also allows the attackers to go incognito in the crowd, without being detected or identified. “The grenades are lobbed mostly by upper ground workers of the militants, which makes it even more dangerous,” he added.

Inspector general of CRPF Srinagar sector Ravideep Singh Sahi said militants seem to be desperate and that’s was why they are carrying out grenade attacks. “Our men are alert and we are going to review the acts of militants and take countermeasures accordingly,” he said. 

Sources said intelligence agencies have cautioned the police and other security agencies in Kashmir about the more grenade attacks in the Valley by the militants to disrupt the upcoming Republic Day function.