Jammu: A fresh batch of 200 special commandos drawn from Jammu & Kashmir police have been trained to take on fidayeen (suicide attackers) following a spurt in terror attacks against security forces and official installations in the Kashmir Valley.
The 200 commandos, who received vigorous training under experts of various agencies and former police officers at Commando Training Centre (CTC) Lethpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, were formally pressed in to service in a passing out parade attended by the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti last week on December 14.
The commandos are part of Anti-Fidayeen Squad of J&K Police. They used to conduct anti-terror operations under the brand name Special Operations Group (SOG),” SSP Mehmood Chaudhary, principal of CTC Lethpora, said. The special commandos have been trained by the Army and ITBP. In the last three years, over 2,000 commandos had been trained. They are trained to clear buildings occupied by fidayeen, floor by floor, climb steep mountains and swim through rivers. They are also equipped to use scientific aid during criminal investigations and collection of intelligence from the field as well.
Fidayeen attacks have been primarily carried out generally by Punjabi speaking Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists from Pakistan’s Punjab province. “After their defeat in the 1999 Kargil war, the Pakistan Army and the ISI changed their strategy to inflict maximum casualties on Indian security forces with minimum resources,” a police officer said.
From 1999 to 2002, fidayeen attacks were common in the state. In 2001 alone, over one dozen attacks took place. But from 2006 to 2013, fidayeen attacks were rare. There has been a surge in fidayeen attacks since 2013. The attacks have mostly targeted defence establishments and other government buildings in Kashmir. Intelligence sources said the ‘jihadi’ mentality has over the time hardened and a new set of hard-core terrorists have infiltrated into the state to carry out deadly fidayeen attacks.
Nine people, including three elite commandos of Armyand two paramilitary personnel, lost their lives after three fidayeen stormed a multi-storey government building on Srinagar-Jammu national highway on February 20 this year.