Locals say that the Army is entrenching itself in all the forward areas in preparation for the winters.

 

Srinagar: Kashmir valley and Rajouri, Poonch areas in Jammu division are witnessing more movement of army and paramilitary forces to the border areas. Similarly, army conveys with equipment have been moving on Srinagar Leh highway in the past two weeks. These extraordinary Army movements have brought fresh fears in people about the growing confrontation on the borders.

Growing tension on LoC has resulted in movement of more troops to the forward areas, according to the local villagers from Uri, Keran, Tangdhar and Machil areas of North Kashmir. Similar reports are coming from Rajouri and Poonch areas of Jammu, while the international border is silent so far.

Disturbing reports both from LAC in Ladakh and from the different sectors of LoC in Jammu and Kashmir have resulted in fresh fears among the common people about the possibility of “two front war”. Recently, Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawat disclosed that Islamabad was trying to infiltrate more and more terrorists. He warned Islamabad not to try any mischief on the borders in Jammu and Kashmir and said that heavy losses would be inflicted on them in case of any misadventure.

Many army commanders on the ground have also said that there is a lot of troop movement from across the border and said that they were ready to face them if at all they go for any misadventure. Lt. Gen. B.S. Raju, General-Officer-in-Command of XV Corps, told the media a few days back that they have “alerted all formations to keep a check on any flying object seen along the LoC”.

Reports from Leh said that in the past three days, there has been some migration of villagers from the Chuchul area of Ladakh. “Dozens of families have migrated from many forward villages, including from Chuchul, as they feel that it could be war anytime,” a local reporter from Leh told this newspaper. He said that more families were trying to get accommodation in Leh city. However, BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal from Ladakh told the media that people of Ladakh were shoulder to shoulder with the army and locals of Chuchul were helping them as porters.

Those villagers who have reached Leh with their families from Chuchul told reporters that there is amassing of troops from both sides and they were coming closer to each other.

These villagers have further said that the army is entrenching itself in all the forward areas for the winters. “They have said that tents, winter equipment and other winter supplies have reached many forward villages and the villagers were helping the army to identify the locations for the severe winters and snow,” Bakar Cho, a local journalist, told this reporter. He said that hundreds of army vehicles were seen moving in the past few days towards Pangong Tso and Chuchul areas and described the situation as “very grim and tense”.

Locals have indicated that there can be confrontation between the two armies in the coming days after the Indian army has taken over some of the strategic heights on the south side of Pangong Tso; the Chinese are trying to do the same on the north side of the lake, triggering panic among the villagers.

Meanwhile, reports from forward villages of Kashmir valley suggest that the army is being redeployed at many forward posts and they have also started dumping winter equipment, indicating that they will not leave the bunkers in the forward posts in most of the vulnerable areas in North Kashmir. It has been a normal practice for the army to leave many forward bunkers in North Kashmir during winters as such areas witness heavy snowfall.

“We have seen army trucks coming with winter equipment, including kerosene bukhries, winter shoes and other such equipment. It seems that they will remain in the forward bunkers even during the winter months,” a local villager from Karnah told local journalists of the area.

Villagers have been witnessing a lot of army movement during the night hours in all the forward areas of North Kashmir and also Rajouri and Poonch areas. In the recent past, the army has said that there is a lot of troop movement from across the border and infiltration attempts have multiplied in September.