Poonch terror attack: OGWs might have helped terrorists to move in forest area

Representational image.

Shillong, April 23: Days after the Poonch terror attack, the network of Over Ground Workers (OGWs) has come under scanner because, according to intelligence agencies, a local person served as a guide to help the terrorists move through the dense forest of Poonch district in Jammu division after they attacked an Army vehicle on Thursday, which led to the deaths of five soldiers.

Although there were inputs of an attack in the Jammu division, neither the military intelligence nor the police had any particular information about it.

According to reports, among the five or six militants there were at least three terrorists from Pakistan. According to sources in the Military Intelligence, known OGWs from the districts of Poonch, Rajouri, and Reasi had been detained and interrogated.

Terrorists cannot move independently in the deep forest areas close to Bhimber Gali. They require local assistance, which the security forces and intelligence agencies are looking into, according to sources.

The Army has strengthened the vigilance along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts to prevent the exfiltration of terrorists to Pakistan, even though it is unclear whether the terrorists responsible for the attack infiltrated recently or were already entrenched there for a long time.

Intelligence agencies are also attempting to determine whether OGWs gave terrorists the weapons, such as the steel core or armor-piercing bullets used in the ambush, from China. In the recent past, there have been instances of Pakistani drones infiltrating Indian territory and dropping weapons and ammo. Even during the Dhangri incident in Rajouri on January 1 and 2, people said that the two terrorists, who the police said were from Pakistan, had received local assistance.

A drone from Pakistan was shot down by Rajouri area soldiers in the Beri Pattan neighbourhood on the intervening night of April 12 and 13. Five magazines, as much as 131 AK-47 rounds, and Rs 2 lakh in cash were taken.

When Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Lethapora in December 2017 in Kashmir, it was discovered for the first time that they were using armor-piercing bullets. Terrorists once more used armor-piercing rounds to target CRPF members in Anantnag in June 2019.