Srinagar: Intelligence agencies have interpreted a communication about a “high-grade IED (improvised explosive device) blast” ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, sending J&K police into a tizzy.
Modi’s visit is scheduled for 24 April, on the occasion of Panchayati Raj Diwas. According to sources, since the visit was announced in mid-March, incidents of terror — targeting civilians, members of the Panchayati Raj institutions (PRI) and security forces — have been on the rise. A similar trend was noticed during Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the Valley in October last year, sources said.
In March alone, at least five panchayat members were killed in terror attacks in the Valley after Modi’s visit was announced, police data shows. And this month, the latest incident was the killing of an independent sarpanch in the Pattan area of Baramulla district in north Kashmir on 15 April. Other than that, three civilians and five personnel of the security forces have also been killed in separate incidents.
“A communication has been intercepted about an IED blast but we are prepared. Additional force is being deputed along highways. Borders are being fortified,” a police source told ThePrint.
“This is a desperate attempt by handlers sitting in Pakistan. Since the PM’s visit was announced, they became more active and started targeting the panchayat representatives in the Valley to scare them. These representatives are also being threatened. This is an attempt to disrupt the PM’s event,” added the source.
Data also shows that since the announcement of the PM’s visit, 13 militants and three Pakistani terrorists have also been killed in separate encounters in the Valley, and 11 terrorists have been arrested.
“The terrorists in the Valley started attacking civilians and panchayat representatives, following which the encounters also increased. In the past month, 16 terrorists have been killed and a dozen have been arrested,” the source said.
During his Jammu visit, Modi will interact with members of the Panchayati Raj Institutions, launch industrial investments, and inaugurate development projects.
‘On our toes’
Following the interception, crisis response teams have been mobilised to all border areas for increased patrolling. Moreover, night patrolling, frisking, and surveillance through drones have also been increased.
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha also chaired a security review meeting with chiefs of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as part of the preparations for Modi’s visit.
“We are on our toes. The deployment across the Valley and on the route to Jammu has been increased. Highway patrolling, intensified night patrolling and technological surveillance has been mounted. We are coordinating with all the intelligence agencies and keeping a close track to ensure that nothing untoward happens,” the source said.