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Army to deploy 2 more battalions in South Kashmir

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-06-2017 Sumir Kaul

Anantnag/New Delhi: Two additional battalions—a total of 2,000 men—of the Army will be sent as reinforcement to four troubled districts of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Wednesday.

With the presence of additional forces in Kulgam, Anantnag, Shopian and Pulwama, some army camps in Shopian and Pulwama will be revived again, they said.

The officials said the two additional battalions, which have already started moving to Kashmir, will be posted to some of the more vulnerable areas of the four districts.

Major General B.S. Raju, General officer Command of the Army’s Victor Force, whose area of responsibility is South Kashmir, on Wednesday surveyed the region, which has often been described as “ground zero” because of increased militant activities there.

The officials said the army camps had been set up to help locals who were “possibly intimidated” by the militants. The places where camps are being set up includes Lidder in Pulwama, which officials see as the base for militants shuttling between Shopian, Pulwama and Budgam in Central Kashmir.

People privy to the development said new camps will be established at Zainpora, on the border of Heff Shremal, and the Khudwani and Nagbal areas which fall in these four districts. The Army has also launched a programme to meet villagers and to talk to them about the need to stay away from counter-insurgency operations, they said.

The people said locals were often herded towards an encounter site by members of militant groups to hamper the army operations. “Once a semblance of security is ensured in these areas, people may not follow the diktats,” an official said.

The decision on redeployment was taken after intelligence reports said South Kashmir had turned into a militant hub.

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