Amidst government claims that it is reducing forces footprints in Kashmir, Army has revived its 3 year old camp in Chattergam village, on the outskirts of Srinagar. Three years ago it was in a small private house but this time they have occupied about one hectare of land on rent. This step was taken in a review meeting held on July 8, a day after the Pampore attack, sources said.
The review meeting had observed that a large area in the outskirts of Srinagar from Railway Station to Pulwama town had no security presence after several government security force camps were removed in South and Central Kashmir.
Sources said that the main worry for the government security agencies was the presence of militants in the vast area adjacent to the Srinagar-Jammu Highway from Awantipora in South Kashmir to Hyderpora Bypass in Srinagar.
The intelligence reports also have mentioned that militants have shifted their activities from North to central and parts of South Kashmir.
“Intelligence agencies have informed the top security officials that the LeT Divisional Commander for South Kashmir has shifted to the area. The need for setting up of the Army camp was felt after rising militancy in South Kashmir with parts of Budgam and Pulwama districts,” defence sources said.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt General Om Prakash admitted in July this year that over the years government forces focused on North Kashmir but in the meantime militants chose South Kashmir where government forces had decreased their presence following relative calm in the state.
According to the government security agencies, “feeling security pressure in North Kashmir, the militants made the area – west of river Jhelum from Srinagar Railway Station to Pulwama town – as their base. The LeT Divisional Commander for South Kashmir, who took over charge of South Kashmir after the killing of Abdul Rehman alias Rehman Bhai last year in October, was hiding in this area. Prior to shifting to this area, LeT Divisional Commander was in Dacchigam area for almost a year”.