Pulwama Redux Prevented By Indian Forces

  • Wanted terrorist Riyaz Naikoo was among the three militants killed in the intensified operations of the Indian security forces in south Kashmir early this week. The hiding terrorists were cornered in Pulwama’s Beigpora village when the operation was launched.
  • According to the 2011 census Pulwama district has a population of 560,440. This gives it a ranking of 537th in India (out of a total of 640). The literacy rate of the district is 63.54%.
  • In 1831’s Battle of Balakot, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army defeated Syed Ahmad Barelvi and his army. After 2019 Pulwama attacks, a JeM terrorist training camp in Balakot was bombed out by India warplanes

IMD Now Giving Weather Forecasts For PoK and GB

Clearly stating the stance on Pakistan’s aggressive moves of recent past of usurping Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), India began listing Gilgit-Baltistan region and Muzaffarabad, both of which Pakistan claims as independent territory and in PoK, in the regional weather report published by the IMD.

Crux of the Matter

What’s the Case?
Since the bifurcation of J&K, IMD has started forecasting regions under Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Previously these areas weren’t covered in the regional forecast of Northwest India. After Pakistan’s decision to conduct elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad, India started forecasting these regions explicitly in its regional bulletin
IMD has replaced Jammu & Kashmir subdivision with “Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Muzaffarabad”.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has been issuing weather bulletin for entire Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh area. We are mentioning Gilgit-Baltistan, Muzaffarabad in the bulletin as they are the parts of India.

Mrutyunjoy Mohapatra, Director General, IMD

This change in name is a diplomatic response to Pakistan Supreme Court’s decision to allow the federal government to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan. Indirectly India is indicating that PoK belongs to India.

Why Important?
Pakistan considers Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad as a separate territory. Elections will help Pakistan make territorial claims. India protested and asked Pakistan to vacate PoK. Google Maps has now stopped showing the LoC and shows the entire Jammu & Kashmir as part of India. India has been making its stance clear to counter the aggressive Pakistani usurpation of PoK.

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It is the principal organization responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting, and seismology. It has the responsibility for forecasting, naming, and distribution of warnings for tropical cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean region. In the last week of April 2020, IMD released names for 169 tropical cyclones that are likely to emerge over the north Indian Ocean.
  • Polo is one of the most famous sports in Gilgit – Baltistan. Almost every bigger valley has a polo ground. At an elevation of 12,200 ft, Shandur top is the world’s highest Polo ground and is also called “Roof of the world”. The English word Polo has Balti origin – the language spoken in Gilgit – Baltistan region.
  • Muzaffarabad is the capital of the PoK territory of Azad Kashmir (as referred by Pakistan). Here is the flag of Azad Kashmir adopted on 24 September 1975 via the Azad Jammu and Kashmir State Flag Ordinance, passed by founding President Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan.

Army Neutralises Terrorists As Pak Ramps Up Terrorism During Pandemic

In the year 2020, there has been continuous meddling from Pakistan-backed terror groups in J&K and along the LoC. Apart from killing 50 terrorists in 2020, of which 18 were during the lockdown, Indian Army and other security forces have been actively clearing militant posts across LoC. In what seems to be an ongoing operation, Indian forces are on high alert.

Crux of the Matter

2nd May – Handwara
Encounter broke out between Indian soldiers and terrorists at Handwara, J&K – it lasted 12 hours. 5 Indian soldiers were martyred and 2 terrorists killed. One of the terrorists was a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader, Haider. In the Changimulla region, civilians were taken hostage by these terrorists. They were rescued by the Security Forces.

4th May – Kupwara
A CRPF battalion was attacked by militants in the Kupwara region of J&K. 3 CRPF men martyred and a dead body of a 14-year old also found. Militants manage to escape. Army is unsure of militants’ link to Handwara terrorists.

6th May – Pulwama
Security forces got intel of top Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Riyaaz Naikoo being in Pulwama. He was visiting his parents. Since the evening of 5th May, the entire area was cordoned off and search operation was carried out. Riyaz found in a bunker on the early morning of Wednesday. Security personnel opened fire on Riyaz and his aide, both of whom fired back. The forces blew off the house he was trapped in and successfully neutralized him. Internet and SMS services were temporarily suspended to avoid clashes.

Timeline: Terror Strikes in 2020

January1st – Breach at LoC near Rajouri, 3 militants and 2 Indian Army personnel died

25th – 3 terrorists including JeM leader Qari Yasir and 2 Indian soldiers killed
February9th – Army kills 3 militants at LoC near Poonch and attacks terror launch pads near LoC in Nakyal village of PoK
March4th – MoS for Defence, Shripad Naik informs there were 646 ceasefire violations between 1 Jan – 23 Feb at International Border and Line of Control

31st – Forces bust militant bunker along LoC and recover arms and ammunition in large numbers
April5th – 5 LeT terrorists trying to infiltrate through LoC near Keran killed; 4 Indian soldiers martyred; major infiltration avoided

9th – JeM commander Sajad Nawab Dar killed

22nd – Massive shelling along LoC and on Indian posts from Pak’s side; J&K DGP Dilbag accuses Pak for disrupting peace in the valley during the Coronavirus pandemic
  • Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, father of Osama Bin Laden, was a multi-millionaire Saudi businessman working primarily in the construction industry. He founded what is today the Saudi Binladin Group and became the wealthiest non-royal Saudi, establishing the wealth and prestige of the Bin Laden family.
  • CRPF is considered the largest paramilitary force in India. It has over 3 lakh personnel in 246 battalions. It reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s during the conflicts of Northern Ireland, the Basque Country, and Palestine.

India Asks Pak to Vacate PoK

In the backdrop of combat with terrorists in the Handwara region of J&K and massive shelling along the LoC, Pakistan issued orders on conducting elections in the disputed Gilgit – Baltistan region that falls in the PoK. India protested elections carried out in 2009 and 2015 in the region and this time it has asked Pakistan to vacate the forcefully occupied regions.

Crux of the Matter

Notoriously Slithering In Indian Territory
Pakistan Supreme Court allowed Pakistan Federal government to conduct general elections in the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region. GB falls in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) region. In 2009, Pakistan passed an order to hold assembly elections in the GB region to turn the territory into Pak’s province. In 2015, elections were held in the region once again. India has sent demarches over years and lodged protests over the issue.

‘Get Out!’ says India
India issued a demarche to Pakistan and accused it of making “material changes” in a disputed region. India also said that Pakistan can neither hide the forceful accession of parts of J&K, nor the human rights violations, persecution of religious minorities, and denial of freedom. Pakistan responded by referring to the abrogation of Article 370 as “illegal and in violation of the UNSC resolutions”.

The Government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it. India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Instead, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.

India in the demarche

Understanding Terms

What is a Demarche?It is a diplomatic notice issued by one nation to showcase its protest over any issue or action of another nation
What is Locus Standi?It is the legal right or capacity to take an action to the court of law
Azad Kashmir and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK)Pakistan invaded northern part of J&K in 1947. It has divided the whole invaded territory (called PoK) into two: Gilgit – Baltistan region and Azad Kashmir

Meanwhile in J&K
On 2nd May 2020, some terrorists held hostage in the Handwara region of J&K. It was followed by a close-range fight between Indian soldiers and the terrorists, in which 5 Indian soldiers martyred, and 2 terrorists were killed. One of the terrorists was Lashkar-e-Taiba’s top leader Haider.

On 5th May, 2020, terrorists opened fire on CRPF men near Handwara. 3 CRPF personnel lost their lives. There have been reports of massive shelling along the LoC since the lockdown began in India.

  • Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five of the “eight-thousanders” (14 peaks worldwide which cross 8,000 meters mark) and more than fifty peaks above 7,000 meters (23,000 ft). Three of the world’s longest glaciers outside the polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan. The main tourism activities are trekking and mountaineering.
  • Shikara is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language romantic drama film produced and directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The film is based on the love story of a Kashmiri Hindu couple at the peak of insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir during the 1990s and the subsequent exodus of Kashmiri Hindus. This film was criticized and even boycotted by some people for focusing on the “romantic love story” rather than the forced exodus of Kashmiri Hindus.
  • Under Article 370, Jammu & Kashmir was permitted to have its own flag, which was red in color with three equidistant white vertical stripes and a white plough. The flag of Jammu and Kashmir which was hoisted along with the tricolor was removed from the Civil Secretariat three weeks after the Centre revoked Article 370 provisions which granted special status to the state.

LoC turns into Line of Chaos amidst J&K Ceasefire Violations

According to Indian intelligence reports, 15 Pakistan army troopers along with eight terrorists were killed on April 10, after the latter initiated heavy artillery fire in the civilian area of Keran in J&K. Considering this as a violation of the 2003 ceasefire accord agreed for Line of Control (LoC), tensions flared between India and Pakistan.
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

What’s a Ceasefire Violation?
A ceasefire (or truce), is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other, to suspend aggressive actions. Dating back to the times of World War I, they may be declared as part of a formal treaty or an informal understanding between opposing forces. So a ceasefire violation is a direct breach of the mutually agreed upon peace agreement.

There have been frequent incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan, ever since India announced its decision to withdraw the special status of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and revoked Article 370, in order to bifurcate the state into two union territories in August 2019.

Indian Army data shows 1,197 Pakistani violations in 2020. The Pakistan military has recorded 705 ceasefire violations by the Indian Army during the same period.

A Series of Unfortunate Events
Multiple Sources report that the army operation started after the footage from an UAM (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) picked up screenshots of an infiltration attempt in the Keran sector of J&K on Saturday, 4th April 2020. Five Indian soldiers of the 4 Parachute unit were airdropped, 6 feet away from the invaders at the LoC (Line of Control), as heavy snow had restricted movements on the regular army unit responsible for action there.

Screenshot of the Indian Army’s strike across the LoC

Thereby, the squad led by Subedar Sanjeev Kumar spotted the terrorists’ footsteps, visible in the rough yet snowy terrain and followed the trail. Unfortunately three members of the squad stumbled into a gap midway, right on top of the infiltrators hiding there. In the battle that ensued in point blank range, the terrorists naturally had an advantage. But the elite commandos managed to put up a strong fight and took down the 5 militants. The Indian soliders later succumbed to their own injuries. The search party which later went to the site, said that it was unusual that the battleground bore the signs of a close-quarter, hand to hand fight because most encounters take place from a safe distance.

The Departed
The brave members of the Indian squad included Havildar Davendra Singh and Paratroopers Bal Krishan, Amit Kumar and Chhatrapal Singh.

Out of five terrorists killed, three belonged to J&K and the others were trained with the notorious Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a Pakistan based Jihadi group active in Kashmir.

Pak Making Best Out of a Pandemic
As per findings by the security agencies in Kashmir, Pakistan has been collaborating with terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), to push the COVID-19 infected Pakistani terrorists into J&K. This would get their hands off the sick in their nation while causing havoc on the other side.

Moreover LeT has started recruiting its cadre from the Sindh province of Pakistan, which has recently been recorded as the Pakistani state with the highest number of Coronavirus cases,  crossing the 1,000-mark.

What’s in Store for Both?
India has issued a strong demarche to Pakistan, which is a diplomatic correspondence on a given subject from one government to another government or intergovernmental organization. This move comes after three innocent Indian civilians were killed in what they believe was an unprovoked ceasefire infringement by Pakistan and released subsequent footage of terror launch pads, gun positions and an ammunition dump found across the LoC.

In the meantime, Pakistan thinks India is raising a false flag operation, to divert attention from the ongoing issues in Jammu and Kashmir. It further added that it had simply countered the ‘Indian’ assault by targeting ‘Indian’ Army posts along the LoC with matching weapon calibre. The Foreign Office said that Director General (South Asia & SAARC) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri summoned Indian Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia to lodge a complaint for the same.

  • The term Line of Control (LoC) refers to the military control line between India and Pakistan which does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary but serves as the de facto border. Originally known as the Cease-fire Line, it was redesignated as the “Line of Control” following the Simla Agreement, which was signed on 3 July 1972.
  • One of the first conflicts on LoC happened in 1984, which is called “Operation Meghdoot”. Launched on 13 April 1984, this military operation was the first assault launched in the highest battlefield in the world, Siachin glacier.
  • LOC has also witnessed some peacemaking activities like, in 2005, a limited bus service was set up to ferry passengers across the LoC from Srinagar, Indian Kashmir’s summer capital, to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir and after a massive earthquake in 2005, both the countries opened several crossing points on the LOC to swap aid and allow families to meet.

Fencing near the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India & Pakistan at Silikote, Uri