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Hizb ban has not stopped infiltration: Army

Source: PTI
May 28, 2003 16:28 IST
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The Indian Army on Wednesday said Pakistan's move to restrict activities of Hizbul Mujahideen has not stopped infiltration from across the border.

Announcing this in Srinagar, General Officer Commanding 15 corps Lieutenant General Vinayak Gopal Patankar told reporters in Srinagar that the army was optimistic peace would return to Jammu and Kashmir.

"Infiltration from across the Line of Control has started as we had anticipated. Only yesterday, three militants were killed while trying to sneak into our side," Patankar said.

He said there had been at least one occasion recently when Pakistani troops were providing cover fire to militants trying to sneak in.

Asked about the number of foreign militants operating in the state, Patankar said the number varies from 1,500 to 2,000, but the bracket is too wide to give an exact idea.

He denied the presence of mobile training camps for militants in the state, saying, "We have not come across any such thing in Kashmir valley."

He also said no troops from the valley were sent for operations in Hilkaka area, on the other side of Pir Panjal range in Jammu division, where the army is reportedly facing stiff resistance from militants.

He denied the use of helicopter to combat militancy in the state, and said, "We do not use them here in valley. They might be using in the Hilkaka operation."

On the allegations of human rights violations by the troops, the corp commander said the any violations have been investigated from time and time and exemplary punishment meted out to erring troopers.

Patankar also said the decision to launch mobile telephone services in Jammu and Kashmir rested with the state and the Centre.

"We had expressed our reservations on launching mobile phone services in Kashmir fearing largescale use by militants for spreading violence," he said, adding, "Once a decision has been taken to launch the services in the larger interest of the people, it does not matter anymore."   

He said services using Wireless in Local Loop technology had already been started on a small scale and was expected to be expanded soon.

Mobile services were to be launched in the state on April 13 this year, but was delayed by two weeks after army authorities refused to allow the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to erect a communication tower in the high security Cantonment area of the city.

A day ahead of the rescheduled launch, militants carried out a fidayeen attack on the All India Radio complex, prompting the Defence ministry to halt BSNL's plans.

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