Shopian: The security grid in Kashmir is walking on a tight rope in South Kashmir’s Shopian district as suspected militants, they believe, are using new ‘sabotage tactics’ to escalate tension in the turmoil-struck valley.
In Shopian’s Chitragam village, police and security officials found a high-tension power transmission tower damaged on Friday morning. According to a police officer, suspected militants had used a gas-cutter on two out of four limbs to tear the tower down.
“We found about the tower early morning and it is currently being repaired. We have laid a security cover around it however, the transmission has not been disrupted,” the officer told NewsClick.
The tower, numbered 348, is part of the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (PGCIL) 400 KV power transmission service on Kishanpur-Wagoora line which supplies electricity to different areas of the Valley.
A senior security official posted in the area told NewsClick that this was the first time he had witnessed militants using such sabotage tactics on electricity transmission lines.
“There have been attacks on mobile towers and other installations but this is a first on power services,” he said.
This is a measure to instil fear among people, the security officials added, saying it could have affected power supply across the Valley.
Following the incident, a joint team of police, CRPF and 1 RR had laid a security cover in the Chitragam village, around 60 km from Srinagar, and, are currently investigating the incident.
More Attacks on Non-Locals
The security officials found the damaged tower in the area after they were also carrying out a search operation in Chitragam village close to where two non-locals were killed by suspected militants last night. The militants had attacked three apple-laden trucks at about 7 p.m on Thursday killing two drivers on-spot.
The two were identified by police as Zahid and Ilyas Khan from Alwar, Rajasthan. Another driver escaped during the attack while one Jeevan Singh received two bullet injuries in the abdomen. Singh is currently under medical observation at a Srinagar hospital.
“The three trucks were coming from Yaripora area and were moving at a distance of about 300 m from each other when they came under the attack,” the police said.
This is the fourth attack on non-locals in the region from past two weeks, the first attack was carried out on October 14.
Security officials see the attack on power installations and continued attacks on non-locals as a new tactic by militants to “escalate violence” in the region.
Tension prevails across Kashmir after government unilaterally abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories. Since, then sporadic incidents of protests and violence have occurred in the erstwhile state amid a massive clampdown enforced by the government to thwart any law and order situation in the wake of the revocation of 370.
Both the government and people in the valley expected deterioration in situation in the wake of the abrogation of the law, the killings and the attack on power installation seems to have pushed the situation a little further.