Cover Story : Uri and the Outrage
Diplomatic isolation of Pakistan looks imminent after the Uri attack but people expect something beyond that
Deepak Zazia in Srinagar
On the eve of Eid when a group of four heavily armed terrorists had managed to sneak into the border town of Poonch, dangerous game-plan of Pakistan came to the fore. Fortunately, with the alertness of valiant police personnel Rajinder Prashad, a native of Poonch, terrorists could not succeeded in the designs to attack headquarters of Poonch Brigade. Rajinder Prashad has attained martyrdom but his supreme sacrifice provided ample time to the security forces to cordon off the area to eliminate all the four terrorists whose target was Poonch Brigade of the Army. The heavily armed terrorists eliminated during two days long operations had managed to sneak into this side from Line of Control (LoC).
But unfortunately similar attempt of the terrorists could not be foiled in time in Uri where 18 of our soldiers attained martyrdom when four heavily armed Pakistani terrorists reportedly sneaked through Salamabad nullah in the wee hours of September 18 and carried out a cowardly attack on a rear administrative base of a battalion at Uri, 102 kilometers from Srinagar.
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The terror attack took place at about 4.30 am when most of the soldiers were sleeping in the tents temporarily set up for the shifting troops. As the firing broke out, the tents caught fire which spread to other barracks. 18 soldiers have lost their lives on first day while as one more succumbed to injuries on September 19.
Initial investigation have established that the terrorists had
surveyed the whole area before executing their nefarious plan because they were aware of the many vital things. Secondly, it is almost certain that local overground workers might have given support to terrorists in execution of their designs because without local help it is difficult rather impossible to reach to that area. Terrorists were very much aware that soldiers of two regiments-namely Dogra Regiment and Bihar Regiment, were camping in the area. They were also aware due to ongoing transaction everything was in hotchpotch so it would be appropriate opportunity to executive their nefarious designs.
Maj Gen (Retd) GD Bakshi
Uri attack is condemnable. The time has come to adopt whole-of-government approach and Tri-service planning. It’s time to hit across LoC and International Border to raise cost and consequences for Pakistan. Pakistan is a terrorist state. World must be told that India no longer accepts a situation where Pakistan and ISI at any point anywhere attack on India. It’s time to hit back. Pakistan has crossed the tolerance level. We must follow through at the tactical level. PM Modi strategic policy of raising the issue of Baluchistan, PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan is a good move. PoJK belongs to India. The main issue is not Jammu & Kashmir; the issue is Pakistan sponsored terrorism.
The attack seems to be was a well thought out at a time when there was change of command at Uri Brigade with troops of 10-Dogra Regiment being replaced by the troops of 6-Bihar Regiment. Some of the troops were in temporary shelters as part of routine change of command process.
Kanwal Sibal, Former Foreign Secretary, Govt of India
Government is on right track diplomatically to expose Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism. The fact that major Islamic countries like UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have condemned Uri attack is a
The modus operandi of the Uri Brigade Headquarter attack was similar to that of Army’s Tanghdar Brigade Headquarter attack that was carried out in November last year. The JeM Fidayeen had set the petrol depot of the Army on fire inside Army Brigade. However, they were neturalised by the Army without causing much damage.
|Besides the present diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan, we could look into the following:
Uri terror attack was the second biggest terror strike this year after Pathankot Air Base attack on January 2, 2016. A major attack on a unit
headquarter of Infantry Brigade has come in Uri, 132 kilometers from Srinagar on Srinagar – Muzaffarabad Road. 18 Indian soldiers lost their lives in the suicidal attack and as many are wounded, some critically. Two jawans of Jammu region, one from Samba and the other from Bishnah, were among the martyred soldiers. There is widespread gloom and anger in the entire country and also the Jammu region on innocent killing of our soldiers. Thousands of people gathered at the cremation of the
soldiers in their respective villages shows that our country is not going to tolerate enemy attacks anymore.
Four terrorist, who attacked the army camp were Pakistani nationals. They carried weapons, ammunition, medicines and other things all made in Pakistan. It is now established that they were sponsored by Jaish-e Muhammad, one of the infamous and notorious terrorist organisations in Pakistan.
This attack on the rear base of a
battalion in the Uri Brigade has come after two years. On December 5, 2014, after a similar attack was done by Pakistani terrorists at Mahora in Uri Sector, in which ten security personnel were killed. Uri is strategically the most vital military station in Kashmir because it controls the road leading straight to Srinagar. It is through this route that Pakistani tribesmen had attacked Kashmir in the third week of October 1947. The present respective position of the troops of two countries was established as a result of cease fire that took place between the two
countries on the midnight of December 31, 1948.
On the very next day of the attack, National Investigation Agency (NIA) team visited Uri Brigade Headquarters of the Army in North Kashmir’s Baramulla District and took over investigations to ascertain all aspects and angles. Role of locals will also be thoroughly invesgitaged.
Police on September 19, formally registered an FIR in Police Station Uri (FIR No 71/16) and started
investigations into the attack. NIA has taken over the investigations of the case from Jammu & Kashmir Police. An NIA team led by Inspector General Mukesh Singh, SSP Atul Goel and other officers visited Uri brigade after the mopping operation was completed by Army. They visited the crime scene and had a look at the bodies of the four Fidayeen. The bodies were later handed over to the locals for burial under tight police security.
Army also conducted massive operations in Uri near the Line of Control (LoC) on the possible infiltration routes that may have been adopted by the Fidayeen to carry out attack on Army’s Brigade Headquarters at Uri.
Army searched three ravines that cut across the LoC in mountainous terrain in Uri one of which is believed to have been used by terrorists to sneak into the area. The Army took two porters of Gohalan Village to the Brigade Headquarters for questioning as they feel that these Fidayeen may have sneaked in through Gohalan nalla.
The troops along the LoC have also been put on alert to foil infiltration attempts by terrorists to sneak into Kashmir. The patrols have been intensified along entire LoC after the attack. Army has also instituted an inquiry into Uri attack as preliminary investigations suggested that the terrorists had sneaked in a day before the attack.
The time bound inquiry will suggest measures to prevent such attacks in future. They said the inquiry will look into all possible lapses and ascertain whether it could have been prevented. It will also suggest preventive measures including realignment of army around its installations near the LoC.
After Uri terror attack, a major offensive by security forces to flush out terrorists from Jammu & Kashmir looks all set to begin very soon along with efforts to bring stakeholders on the table for talks to start the process of finding a lasting solution to Kashmir imbroglio.
Killing of some terrorists in Lachipura area of Uri and Nougam region was just a beginning. Union Home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi was in Srinagar on September 20 to hold
parleys with governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to bring both the State government and Centre on the same page on the twin issues.
Being Chief Minister of the State, Mehooba Mufti is head of the State and Centre wants to take her into confidence before taking major offensive against terrorists and anti-national forces active in Jammu & Kashmir.
Mehrishi also held a security review meeting which was attended by top officials of the security forces, police and intelligence agencies. Mehrishi understood to have discussed preparedness of security forces in the Valley in case of escalation with Pakistan that is very much on the cards after terror attack on Uri Army base camp by Pak trained Jaish terrorists.
Intelligence agencies suspect that during more than two months of unrest when counter insurgency operations almost came to a halt Pakistan succeeded in infiltrating a large number of terrorists into India.
Around 200 terrorists from across the border are trying to infiltrate into Kashmir, while some have already sneaked into the Valley and the number of encounters along the LoC has increased, a senior BSF officer admitted.
“There has been an increase in the number of encounters along the LoC this year, and seeing that there is no denial that infiltration has taken place…Around 150-200 militants are waiting on the other side of LoC to infiltrate,” Inspector General BSF, Kashmir Frontier, Vikash Chandra said. He also blamed Pakistan and terrorist organisations for the ongoing unrest in the Valley. “This whole unrest is Pakistan sponsored. The militant organisations there have a huge hand in all this and they are trying their best (to fuel the unrest),” Inspector General Chandra said. He said some terrorist, who were waiting in launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, have managed to infiltrate into the Valley.
“Some have infiltrated and some have been killed in the encounters. The situation that has arisen is not
force-specific. Every force is working as per the situation and in today’s situation, the CRPF is doing the better job. I salute the jawans of CRPF for working in this situation. I feel the Jammu & Kashmir police and CRPF are doing their job with utmost bravery and alertness. They are trying to control the prevailing situation,” he said.
During the time of unrest, intelligence agencies painstakingly worked on the movement of terrorists with the help of intercepts and human intelligence and mapped and jotted down their area of operations which will come handy in launching operations against them, said highly placed sources.
Officials believe that once the security agencies are able to flush out or neutralise a sizeable number of terrorists and militants, it will not only reduce the intensity of violent protests but will also impact the morale of the resistance group and separatist leaders thus making it possible to bring them on the table for talks.