Kashmir Indepth

Gulmarg on high alert following Pakistan’s bids to push militants


Kashmir’s most-visited tourist destination of Gulmarg in the Baramulla district has been put on a high alert after infiltration bids by militants in the past one week, and multiple attempts to attack the forward posts by the Pakistan Army, according to officers of the counter-insurgency grid in Srinagar.

Sources in the security agencies said the Army’s Ustad and Gulab posts in the upper reaches of Gulmarg were posed with threats by armed men who sneaked two kilometres into this side of Kashmir. Sources said the attacks were repulsed but the infiltrators remain un traced.

Security agencies apprehended two persons, Khalid and Nazim,both residents of Pakistan Muzaffarabad, in the Gulmarg range, two days ago. “They are being questioned on Pakistan’s rare attempts toengage troops in Gulmarg,” an official said.

Initial reports suggest both were “militant guides” and could be part of new infiltration bids facilitated in the area. Meanwhile, the movement to the tourist destination, just 55 km away from capital Srinagar, is being monitored and restricted, an official said.

A hotelier confirmed to The Hindu that the Army for the first time searched the premises of many hotels in Gulmarg in the past one week. Sources said the Army had “relieved scores of local porters” working for them for unknown reasons, and cautioned the local population to remain vigilant.

The latest development comes weeks after the Indian Army fortified its positions in the high-altitude tourist destination in the wake of revocation of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status on August 5. The Army has placed Bofors gunships to secure the strategic Haji Pir pass, connecting Kashmir valley’s Uri with Poonch in the Pir Panjal valley.

The Indian Army has advantageous positions on the Line of Control (LoC) in Gulmarg, where both the armies are positioned eyeball-to-eyeball. Sources said Karnah and Tangdhar in the frontier Kupwaradistrict was opened as new front of shelling by Pakistan.

The Hindu

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