Violence in Jammu and Kashmir has increased off lately but the conflict has been on the rise in the Valley. Security officials have confirmed that at least four highly-trained snipers are active in Kashmir after sniper attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists have emerged as a new source of worry for security agencies in the Kashmir Valley.
Nearly three personnel having been killed since mid-September, prompting the law enforcement agencies to recalibrate their strategy to thwart such strikes by the Pakistan-based group, officials said, according to a report.
Based on intelligence inputs, security agencies believe that at least two separate ‘buddy’ groups of the proscribed JeM comprising two terrorists each have entered Kashmir Valley in early September and have entrenched themselves in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district with the help of some overground supporters of the outfit.
The terrorists, according to the officials, have been thoroughly trained by Pakistan’s spy agency ISI for carrying out sniper attacks in the Kashmir Valley and have been armed with M-4 carbines, used by the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.
There is a possibility that these weapons may be part of the arms and ammunition captured by the Taliban, with whom the JeM cadre was fighting the allied forces in Afghanistan, security officials in the state said. However, they said that the weapon was also being used by the special forces of Pakistan Army.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, “We’ve dealt with snipers on the border regularly and have SOPs to deal with those but never in the hinterland. This will force a rethink of all manner of security and protection procedures.”
In all the instances of sniper attacks, the terrorists used a nearby hillock to carry out strikes on a security force campus when unsuspecting jawans were using their mobile phones to talk to their family or friends.
“These attacks have been precise, even while targeting a personnel inside a sentry post as he uses his mobile phone. They pick up the light of the mobile phone to carry out the attack on jawans,” said one of the officials.