Special Report

 New Fears
 Army says that new LeT bastion in south Kashmir poses a threat to Srinagar city

 ADG. K. Rajendra Kumar bearing the pall
By Fayaz Bukhari
As security forces focussed on north Kashmir during the past few years, the Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba (LeT) has got a chance to gain ground in south Kashmir. South Kashmir, once relatively calm, has all of a sudden emerged as a new bastion for militants, especially the LeT. The attack in Pampore town (on the outskirts of Srinagar, on the high security Srinagar-Jammu national highway) in the first week of July caught the army by surprise.

An army jawan Deepak Singh, part of a Road Opening Party (ROP), was killed and had his rifle snatched. His colleague Trilok Nath was injured, in the LeT attack in broad daylight on July 7. Vijay Kumar, deputy inspector general (DIG) of Jammu & Kashmir Police, south Kashmir, said the militants came in a Santro car and fled after carrying out the attack. He identified the attackers as militants led by Mohammad Qasim, divisional commander of the LeT in South Kashmir.
Prior to the attack on the army, two police men were killed on July 3 in the South Kashmir districts of Pulwama and Kulgam. One was killed in Pulwama town, another gunned down in Yaripora in Kulgam district — his weapon was also snatched. Security agencies blame the LeT for these attacks as well.

General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen. Om Prakash, described the Pampore shooting incident as alarming. “Intelligence reports suggest that there were two Fidayeen (suicide squads), who carried out the attack on the army in Pampore”, he said. The Corps commander, while describing the militants as a very clever lot, said that due to the slowed down pace of operations and the reduced presence of security forces in south Kashmir, militants have managed to occupy space and operate there.
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