The NSG teams will be kept at the disposal of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which is the nodal agency for all anti-militancy operations.
National Security Guard, a special forces unit under the Home Ministry reaches Border Security Force camp at Humhaha near Srinagar to perform drills along with other security forces to build synergy.
Since two weeks, two dozen snipers from the NSG’s house intervention teams have been training here. The Home Ministry is planning to position 100 NSG men at the BSF station. A senior officer said, “Since they specialize in anti-hijack drills, they have been placed near the airport.” These NSG Commandos will soon be deployed in anti-terror operations in the Valley by the Home Ministry.
National Security Guard
The elite National Security Guards, popularly known as ‘Black Cats’, are likely to be deployed soon in counter-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir which was placed under governor’s rule on Wednesday, officials said.
They said a team of NSG has been stationed in the Kashmir Valley for quite sometime and is undergoing rigorous training in the outskirts of the city.
The state was yesterday placed under governor’s rule for the fourth time in the last one decade after the BJP withdrew support to its alliance partner, the PDP, prompting Mehbooba Mufti to resign as the chief minister.
The decision for their deployment in counter-terror operations was taken by the Home Ministry recently and they will be put to use soon after their acclimatisation programme is over, the officials said.
The teams will be kept at the disposal of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which is the nodal agency for all anti-militancy operations, they added.
While the Union Home Ministry is upbeat about deploying the NSG in the valley, counter-terror experts feel that the black cats would be helpful in a situation where room-to-room intervention is required.
Such situations rarely come during a counter-militancy operation as it is virtually a do-or-die battle for the forces, mainly led by the state police and ably assisted by the Army and paramilitary forces, the experts said.
The move to deploy NSG commandos in Kashmir comes in the wake of increasing incidents of encounters where security forces have lost many soldiers during high-risk house intervention operations in densely populated localities.
The Ramzan ceasefire, while providing relief to ordinary people, put counter-terror forces at a disadvantage by easing pressure that intensified operations in preceding months had built on terrorists. According to a senior J&K police officer, had the unilateral ceasefire not been in place and cordon-and-search operations continued in the normal course, around 15-20 terrorists could have been neutralised based on intelligence flow on their movements in built-up areas.
“The truce allowed terrorists freedom of movement in residential areas, let them renew supplies, recruit locals, mobilise overground workers and scout for new hideouts and bases,” said an officer. There is concern that terror groups may now strike with renewed vigour, particularly targeting the Amarnath Yatra, and hence the strategy will be focused on neutralising terrorists active in the south Kashmir areas of Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag and Kulgam.
Intelligence inputs warn of multiple threats to the yatra, particularly from the Jaish-e-Muhammed, which was most active during the truce, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen. Terror modules comprising Pakistani nationals are expectedly planning to infiltrate from across the border and LoC to stage attacks.