By Amresh Srivastava
New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS): Amid intelligence inputs that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is not leaving any stone unturned to send terrorists into the Kashmir Valley and poll-bound Punjab, the Border Security Force on Thursday said that it has already escalated the patrolling on the stretch of Line of Control it is deployed on and and ready to meet any misadventure from across it.
"The BSF is on high alert despite inclement weather due to heavy snowfall and the troopers are keeping strict vigil on the 96km LoC stretch and ready to meet any challenge posed by the hostile forces," BSF officials said.
They said the highest vigil has been kept at all 164 Forward Defence Locations which are located in the extreme snow-bound areas or dense forest wherein its highest FDL is located at the height of 9,300 feet.
A senior BSF official, deployed in the operational area said that troopers are patrolling on the border and adjoining forest areas to search for intruders but the heavy snowfall makes the search operation quite a difficult task.
"The footprints of the terrorists, if they are able to cross the border, are quickly covered due to continuous snowfall and it becomes difficult to ascertain their presence," he said, adding that the drones are also pressed into for aerial surveillance if the weather permits.
Officials in the security grid in J&K have said that ISI has been providing winter clothing and dry rations to these militants so that they could hide from the security forces before escaping to the valley.
The BSF has launched "Operation Sard Hawa" on the Jammu and Rajasthan borders to check the instances of infiltration due to the dense fog cover in the region and this is likely to continue in the Jammu sector for a few more days.
"The ISI is trying its best to push terrorists via Jammu border to get them into Punjab where it wants to derail the poll process at any cost," an official in the security set up said.
In press conference in Srinagar on January 24, BSF's Inspector General, Kashmir Frontier, Raja Babu Singh said that about 104 to 135 militants are ready to sneak into the Indian side across the LoC.
He also said that a few guides have crossed over to the other side of LoC to facilitate the infiltration of the waiting militants. "Their movement is being tracked and their families are under constant watch of security agencies," he said.
The BSF is guarding either jointly with the Army or independently as much as 430km of the total 772-km-long LoC.