Militants were specially trained, aimed to hit civilian targets: Army

SRINAGAR – Stating that there was enough ‘evidence’ to show that Pakistan was supporting the militant group that recently carried out an attack in Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir, the General Officer Commanding of 15-Corps Lt Gen Subrata Saha Sunday said that they were ‘specially trained forces’ and their aim was to hit civilian targets.

Addressing a press conference here in Badamibagh he said, “The multiple terror attacks in the Kashmir valley were made in Pakistan. We have always seen Pakistan is supporting the militants to infiltrate in this side. The Pakistan link to the Uri terror attack was unambiguous and clear. The pictures of food, weapons, even antiseptic creams found on the slain terrorists, were the enough evidence to see the involvement of Pakistan in these attacks.”

The GOC vowed that the Army will never allow infiltrators to succeed. “The security grid is in place and the security forces are well alert to counter any insurgency,” he said.

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s visit to Srinagar he said, “Security grid is in place and there is a well coordination among the all security forces. You are probably listening to some surveillance operation which is going on at top (helicopters). The grid is very much in place and it is highly effective. I do not think it will be appropriate for me to reveal anything more than that.”

Stating that the militants who killed eight soldiers and three policemen in Uri, were trained like Special Forces Lt Gen Saha said, “These terrorists were highly trained like Special Forces to carry out the attacks.”

“The kind of ammunition they were carrying shows they were in for a big haul. These militants had crossed the Jhelum River in Uri as the water level was low there to carry out the deadliest attacks of the day in Uri sector in Baramulla district,” Lt Gen Saha said.

Without directly referring to the assembly polls or Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Srinagar, he said, “The attacks took place because of the larger events taking place in Jammu and Kashmir and in the country and outside the country.”

The senior army commander said that the group, which carried out the attack on Uri camp, was looking to hit civilian targets in order to create fear ahead of the third phase polling in the state.

“The road between Baramulla and Uri is densely populated. The aim of militants must have been to come and strike at civilian targets to cause fear and disrupt the peaceful conditions ahead of the polls,” he said.

The GOC, however, dismissed assertions that the attacks were due to failure of the counter infiltration grid along the Line of Control (LoC). “Had that been the case they could have attacked the civilian targets that they were looking for,” he said.

“They militants came and banged against this position of ours and where in a span of barely 60 odd meters, all the six militants were neutralized,” he said and added that the fact they have been eliminated, the security grid has succeeded with a heavy price.

Paying tribute to the soldiers and policemen killed in the operation, Lt Gen Saha said, “It is their brave fight that ensured that the attack on civilian targets was avoided and any harm to innocent civilians, particularly during this period when elections are on, was avoided.”