Drone Strike: Security Heightened Around Vital Installations in Kashmir

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Muhammad Raafi

Srinagar: Two days after Air Force Station Jammu, was targeted and payload was dropped with two drones, the Kashmir police chief Vijay Kumar Tuesday said that drones are a new threat and all the security installations and LoC in the Valley have been put on a high alert.

The top security officials including the GoC 15 Corps and Kumar have reviewed the drone threat. “It’s a new security challenge,” Kumar said, “We will deal with it technically.”

Deployment of security forces has been heightened at vital installations. “Details of that can’t be shared,” he said.

In what was the first instance of militants deploying drones to strike vital installations, two bombs were dropped at the IAF station in Jammu in the early hours of Sunday, causing minor damage and injuries to two airmen.

The explosions took place around 1.40 am within six minutes of each other. The first blast ripped off the roof of a single-storey building at the technical area of the airport manned by the IAF in Satwari area on the outskirts of the city. The second one was on the ground.

The officials said the explosive material dropped by the drones might have been manufactured using a cocktail consisting of RDX, but a final confirmation was still awaited.

Investigators were yet to determine the flight path of the drones that dropped the bombs as they scanned the CCTV footage, including from cameras installed on the boundary walls of the airport. However, all the CCTV cameras focused on the roadside, the officials said.

The drones that dropped the explosives were either flown back across the border or to some other destination during the night, they suspect.

Meanwhile, speaking about the increased militant attacks in the Kashmir valley, particularly in Srinagar, Kumar said that the killings are aimed at creating fear psychosis to disrupt the ongoing tourist season.

Late Sunday evening a special police officer (SPO), his wife and daughter were killed at Hariparigam, Awantipora.

A police official said that two attackers involved in the attacked have been identified and both belong to proscribed militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad.

He said that two Jaish militants carried out the attack killing an SPO Fayaz Ahmed, his wife and daughter.

The IGP Kashmir said that militants are targeting innocent civilians and unarmed policemen. He said that the department cannot stop the policemen from going home on leave. “They are from this place and have a right to visit their families.”

On June 22, last Tuesday, unidentified militants killed a police officer of CID wing at Kanipora in the outskirts of Srinagar city. Pervaiz Ahmad Dar was posted at Parimpora police station in the Srinagar city and was a resident of Kanipora where he had gone out at the time of the attack.

A day later on Wednesday, militants killed a youth in Habba Kadal locality of the capital city.

He was identified as Umar Ahmad, 25, and was a mobile shop owner by profession.

Militant outfit TRF, that police says is a Front of Lashkar, claimed responsibility for the attack and said the shopkeeper was an alleged police informer.

On June 26, three civilians were injured in a grenade attack by militants on security forces in Srinagar’s Barbarshah area.

Meanwhile, Kumar said that two Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were killed in a gunfight in Maloora area on the outskirts of Srinagar city.

On Monday, the police said that it arrested a militant and on Tuesday morning, claimed that the militant was killed in the gunfight.

In a statement police said that at a Naka on Kashmir highway in the Srinagar outskirts, on Monday, a vehicle was stopped and the identity of the people in the vehicle was asked.

“The person sitting in the back seat tried to open his bag and took out a grenade. The Naka party swiftly swung into action and grabbed the person sitting at the back seat. Both the driver and the person sitting at the back seat were taken into police station where after taking off his mask it was identified that he was militant Abrar, a top LeT Commander.”

The statement said that the apprehended militant was put to joint interrogation by JKP, CRPF and Army.

“On sustained interrogation by the joint teams of JKP, CRPF & Army he disclosed that he had kept his AK-47 rifle in a house located at Maloora. Thereafter he was taken to that house to recover the weapon after laying proper cordon of the suspected house. When the party was entering the house to recover the alleged weapon, one of his associates, a Pakistani militant (about whom he didn’t disclose anything) hiding inside the house fired on the party. In the initial firefight 3 CRPF personnel got injured and Abrar accompanying the search party got hit.”

Kumar said that in the ensuing gun fire foreign militant who fired from inside the house was killed and Abrar also got killed.

Pertinently, soon after the arrest of Abrar, a video purportedly shot by a security forces personnel went viral on social media in which Abrar was seen being captured.

When asked about the violation of SOP about taking Abrar to the site, the IGP said that it is a “professional hazard”.

The IGP said that Abrar was wanted in the Lawaypora shootout case where he along with another militant Khursheed Mir had killed three CRPF men in March this year.

“Khursheed Mir was killed in the recent Sopore gunfight and the rifle he had snatched from the slain CRPF man was also recovered from him. TRF militant outfit had released a video in which Khursheed was shown snatching the weapon and firing at the CRPF men and Lawaypora,” the IGP said.

He said the killing of Abrar and another foreign militant is a big success for the forces. “While arresting Abrar, joint teams had recovered a pistol and a grenade,” Kumar said.

Asked whether Lashkar has its active men in Srinagar, the IGP said that after “radicalisation and indoctrination”, six youth from Srinagar joined militancy of which one was killed recently. “Five others are active and will be killed or arrested soon,” he said, adding that there is a “network of sleeper cells” also active in Srinagar and efforts are on to break that nexus soon.”

NIA To Probe Drone Attack in Jammu

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was on Tuesday given the charge of investigation into the drone attack on the Jammu air force station.

The decision to hand over the probe into the first-of-its-kind militant attack at the Indian Air Force station was taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The investigation into the attack on the Jammu air force station has been handed over to the NIA, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

A day after the attack, the IAF station located at the Jammu airport on Monday continued to remain out of bounds for all but the probe teams including one from the NIA, which picked up every bit of evidence available on the ground.

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