LoC ceasefire violations shoot past 2,000 this year

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LoC ceasefire violations shoot past 2,000 this yearNEW DELHI: There have been over 2,000 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control this year, which is much higher than the previous two years. Last month alone witnessed triple the number of such breaches as against the last two Septembers.

According to data, which is part of an internal government report, there have been 2,317 ceasefire violations till date this year, while there were 1,629 violations last year and 860 in 2017. The violations have largely taken place in South of Pir Panjal in Jammu and Kashmir this year.

These areas are Krishna Ghati-129, Bhimber Gali-287, Naushera-820, Sunderbani-151 and Poonch-744. There were 292 violations in September, out of which 250 took place in South of Pir Panjal and the rest in the North of Pir Panjal. In September 2017, there were 101 violations and 102 in September 2018.

“There were 61 cases of calibre escalation by the Pakistan Army in September. This means increasing the calibre of weapons used from small arms to artillery,” an official said.

Ceasefire violations began increasing from July. It stood at 296 in July and reached 307 in August, including 258 between August 6 and 31, soon after New Delhi revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan has also started targeting civilians through these violations. On September 14, the Pakistan Army targeted schools in Balakot and Sandot and 120 students had to be evacuated. “This matter, of targeting civilians by Pakistan, was raised by the Indian side during military operation talks at the brigadier level between the two sides on October 1,” an official said.

Infiltration attempts also increased in September. Intelligence inputs claimed 28 terrorists had tried to enter India. Twelve of them were successful, officials said. In August, the army had foiled 10-12 infiltration attempts. Earlier, there were two successful infiltrations.

According to data, civilian agitation in J&K declined following the August 5 abrogation of Article 370. In September, there were 85 instances of stone pelting, five instances of civil protests and three calls for bandh. “This is less than half the number of those that took place in August,” an official said.

Since August, 67% of the agitations have been confined to Srinagar, while the rest took place mainly in Budgam, Pulwama and Baramulla. Very few instances happened in known terrorist hotbeds like Anantnag, Shopian, Kupwara and Rajouri.

Recruitment of locals by terrorists is also on the decline. There were only six recruitments in July and seven in August. In July, there were eight incidents sparked by terrorists such as firing, four in August and 12 in September. Both terrorist recruitment and terrorist-initiated incidents saw a spike last year due to high intensity of counter-terrorist operations and terrorists wanting to get back to the security forces.