Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday said drones were used by handlers from across the Line of Control to drop weapons, food and cash to the militants, who carried out an attack in the Bata Durian area of Poonch in which five Army jawans were killed.
Talking to reporters in Poonch, Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh, said such attacks are not possible without local support. He said six locals have been arrested for sheltering the terrorists before they carried out the attack on an army vehicle using explosives and weapons that had come from Pakistan via drones.
The DGP said three to five terrorists were involved in April 20 attack and they seem to have done a recce of the area before carrying out the attack, adding that the arrest of the suspects has provided major clues to the police about the movement of the attackers and their planning.
Local suspect Nisar and his family were detained and later arrested as they are involved in providing food and shelter to the terrorists, the DGP added. They also ferried weapons and cash which was dropped through drones.
Nisar was working as Over Ground Worker (OGW) in the 1990s and had been under the radar, the J&K police chief said.
Speaking on the increase of terrorists in the region, DGP Singh said since the Dangri incident the movement of the militants has been witnessed in one or another area indicating the number of terrorists moving in the region in different groups is around 12. The DGP said all these groups have common handlers from across the border.
He also spoke about reports of militants hiding in the natural caves in the jungle. “We are searching the area and mountain ridges along with the Army, CRPF,” he added.
The DGP said these groups are coming from Pakistan after infiltration and they do recce and launch attacks. “We have neutralized many such groups in the past,” he added.
Dilbagh Singh said Chinese weapons have been used in the Valley, prior to Dangri and Poonch attack.
The Army, police and paramilitary forces have launched a massive search operation in the dense forests of Poonch following a terror attack on an Army vehicle that left five soldiers dead and one critically wounded at Bhatta Durrian in Poonch on April 20.
The latest attack in the border district came when security forces and the police are facing criticism for not tracking terrorists involved in the killing of seven minority community members, two of them minors, at village Dhangri in Rajouri district on January 1.
The region has seen a rise in militant violence since October 11, 2021, when five army soldiers including a JCO, were killed in an encounter with militants at Chamrer forests in Surankote tehsil of Poonch district.
Five days later on October 16, 2021, four soldiers including another JCO were killed in a gun battle with the same group of militants at Bhatta Durrian in Mendhar tehsil of Poonch. The Army searched militants in Pir Panjal forests for about a fortnight but they remained untraced.
In March and April 2022 around four blasts rocked the Koteranka tehsil in the Rajouri district. On August 11, 2022, five Army soldiers were killed and two terrorists were killed during an attack on an Army camp at Pargal in the Darhal area of Rajouri district.
On January 1, 2023, seven civilians of the minority community, two of them minors, were killed in firing and an IED blast triggered by terrorists at village Dhangri in Rajouri district.