Hilltop camp trained militant recruits in combat and use of weapons
Security agencies have identified four routes along the Line of Control in Kupwara that were being used by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) cadres trained at the Balakot camp in Pakistan to infiltrate into India.
A note prepared by the Intelligence agencies on the camp that was hit by Indian Air Force jets in the early hours of Tuesday said the terrorists were shown videos of the Babri Masjid demolition and that of the hijack of the IC-814 Indian Airlines flight in 1999 to radicalise them.
The note was prepared based on the interrogation of a JeM terrorist arrested in India. They were shown videos of alleged atrocities against Kashmiris by the Army.
Spread over six acres, the camp has six buildings with a capacity to house 600 people.
“It is suspected that the camp is functioning under cover of the Madrasa Ayesha Sadiq,” the note said.
It said the JeM terrorists trained at Balakot first travelled to Kel in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and from there, infiltrated into India from the Kupwara side.
The infiltration routes passed through Dudhniyal, the Kainthawali forest, the Magam forest, Lolab and Kachama and Kralpora.
The LoC is manned by the Army.
At the Balakot camp, the JeM cadres undergo different types of training courses such as a three-month advanced combat course known as Daura-e-Khas, an advanced armed training course called Daum-al-Raad and a refresher training programme, the note said.
“Militants there are being trained in handling weapons such as AK 47, machine guns, rocket launchers, under-barrel grenade launchers and grenades. Apart from basic training in weapon handling, they are trained in jungle survival, ambush and communication, using GPS and map reading,” the note said.
It said the terrorists started their day at 3 a.m. with namaaz and reading of the Koran, followed by three hours of rigorous physical exercise.
They were trained in camouflaging, besides operating wireless sets and matrix sheets. Leisure activities included football.
As reported earlier, the facility was headed by by Jaish chief Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar. It was located on a hilltop in a forest far from the civilian area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Balakot, around 200 km from Islamabad.
Situated on the banks of the Kunhar river, the camp offered the possibility of aquatic training to terrorists. The trainers at the camp were “ex-Army personnel”.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and also the States sharing borders with Pakistan.
He, however, proceeded to attend a political rally in Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh during the day even as new details of an IAF fighter pilot being captured by the Pakistan Army poured in.
A senior BSF official said that though security had been heightened along the International Border in Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, the situation was “calm”.