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The Untold Story of Op Sarp Vinash

Aditya G
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The Untold Story of Op Sarp Vinash

Postby Aditya G » 03 Aug 2003 12:51

This was posted on BRF on some other thread earlier. This story is a bit old, but I am starting a new discussion anyway to (a) ensure higher visibility and (b) to encourage a more detailed discussion.

Indian Express: <A HREF="http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=25817">Hill Kaka’s untold story: NRIs came home to fight terrorists</A>

<I>A group of around 20 Muslim youth left their Saudi jobs for a cause</I>

Arun Sharma

Jammu, June 14: The most heroic story of the Indian fight against militants in Hill Kaka has its origin in Saudi Arabia.

A group of around 20 young Muslim men from Marah, a border village in Poonch, left their jobs in the Arabian kingdom, and came back to fight the terrorists. It was they who first took the battle to the terrorist camps at a height of 12,000 ft.

More young men have come back since and they have the support of friends in Saudi Arabia — each of the 100-odd Marah expats contribute 100 Riyal a month to finance their battle.

Highly-placed sources say that the Operation Sarp Vinash against the Hill Kaka terrorists would not have been possible but for the help of the non-resident Indians who returned.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Rajouri-Poonch range, S M Sahai, confirmed that some local Muslim boys left their jobs in Saudi Arabia, returned and offered to help in an offensive against terrorists in the Hill Kaka area. They were recruited as Special Police Officers (SPOs), he added.

Sources said that after a brief training in weapons and explosives, they were attached to an operation group — comprising jawans of 9 Para and police — which was formed to launch an offensive against militants on April 27. On the very first day, the group killed 14 militants at Panzabra in Hill Kaka. A jawan also lost his life.

Since then, the troops and police with the help of the local youth killed about 80 militants and smashed over 95 hideouts. The remaining militants fled the area and infiltrated to parts adjoining Rajouri, said sources.

What made them leave the comfort of petro-dollars to fight terror? The story began when Mohammad Arif came back from Saudi Arabia on vacation last year. A militant was killed in an encounter in the area and his colleagues thought Arif was the informer. He was abducted and later killed.

The revenge was not over. Militants started frequenting Marah and harassing women. Since most men are abroad, the village has mostly women, children and old people.

Then, Fazal Tahir, Arif’s brother, decided enough was enough. He chucked his job as a marble mason in Saudi Arabia, talked to his friends from Marah and decided to head home. Fazal knew what his mission was. He came back on June 26, 2002, and approached the Romeo Force at Palma.

He was attached to the troops at Surankote and was asked to provide information about militants to Captain Amar Sharma. ‘‘After a few months, Sharma got transferred and I started working with his successor Captain Tanvar Sharma,’’ Fazal said.

In the meantime, Fazal was joined by Mohammad Qasim, Molvi Ghulam Hassan and Haji Mohammad Aslam. On July 12, he, with the help of another villager, killed Rashid, the militant responsible for the killing of his brother.

‘‘However, as the things were moving at a snail’s pace, with no one interested in an all-out offensive against terrorists, we met Avtar Singh Badana at Delhi. He sent us to BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and he asked us to meet Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani,’’ Fazal said.

Fazal met Advani who directed him to Defence Minister George Fernandes. ‘‘As we were fed up of visiting politicians, we returned home and again approached the troops for help,’’ Fazal said.

‘‘We started recruiting village youth on our own and formed the Indian Peace Pir Panjal Scouts (IPPPS),’’ he said, adding that the police provided them the guns.

Then a militant who surrendered gave vital information; a villager who was approached by the militants to be an informer turned a double agent and gave the group details of camps. ‘‘As we had information about the number and location of militants, we decided to launch operations on our own. As Rs 1,500 given by the police to an SPO per month is too little an amount to sustain oneself, our people working in Saudi Arabia agreed to contribute 100 Riyals each per month for us,’’ he said.

As it was not possible to fight the militants without the backing of troops, they approached the troops and police till the operation group was formed in April this year. That was when the Hill Kaka plot changed course.
Image Image Image

Question: Would the IPPPS, SPOs and VDCs technically qualify as mercaneries? Is it just fancy terminology?

Aditya G
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Re: The Untold Story of Op Sarp Vinash

Postby Aditya G » 03 Aug 2003 12:52

Here is another interesting piece of info possibly connected to the above story:

<A Href="http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/sair/Archives/1_48.htm">J&K: Reassessing Operation Sarp Vinash</A>

By Praveen Swami

....

Investigations disclose that many of these warnings were coming from a shadowy covert operations unit called Special Group 3, made up of Gujjar residents of the high mountains. This blows apart claims that photo-reconnaissance by its newly-acquired Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, backed by aviation corps helicopters and equipment like thermal imagers were the key to whatever success Operation Sarp Vinash achieved. All seven of the Army's reports on the Hil Kaka operation either credit Special Group 3, managed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, or its smaller sister organisation, Special Group 2. The information was at first ignored, and then taken seriously only after the organisation's leader spoke to a welter of top political and military figures in Rajouri, Jammu and New Delhi. Based on their inputs, the 9 Para-Commando Regiment, a crack unit that earned a formidable reputation for counter-terrorist operations during its earlier tenure in Kupwara, made a first attempt on Hil Kaka in early January. That effort, and another timed for January 26, was beaten back by heavy snow.

Through the winter, Romeo Force worked on putting together helipads that would be able to supply a permanent presence of troops on Hil Kaka. This was a marked departure from conventional practice, which held that committing troops there would only encourage terrorists to move base, and that swift, in-and-out operations were more productive. No road, contrary to Army claims, was built. Work has only now commenced on the construction of an 18-kilometre route from Bufliaz to Hil Kaka. Lidder also ordered that 155 mm artillery be moved into positions below Hil Kaka, along with Cheetah helicopters fitted with under-slung machine guns. In the first week of April, Gujjar families in Bufliaz were told they would not be allowed up the mountain. Two weeks later, Operation Sarp Vinash commenced with artillery pounding the forests around the Hil Kaka bowl, and helicopters attacking terrorist positions. It was a fruitless move: the assault killed no one, and a substantial proportion of terrorists on Hil Kala simply left for safer pastures.

On April 22, the 9 Para-Commando and the 3 Special Group made their way up Hil Kaka, and began the first assault of the operation. One group used shoulder-fired rockets to eliminate a stone post on Chham Dera, which had been turned into a machine-gun bunker dominating the entire Hil Kaka ridge. Simultaneously, the group interdicted the main terrorist base at Ban Jabran, half-way down the ridge. The terrorists had stashed their supplies a little lower, at Banota. No subsequent operation had anywhere near similar success, for most terrorists had simply fled. Notably, none of the seven Army reports speaks of fragmentation missiles being used to attack any of the positions. As operations continued, however, helicopters were used to fly in supplies, including a truck and a bulldozer to build a road between the new Army positions in the Hil Kaka bowl.

...
PS: Read the entire article, it is pretty interesting.

ehsmang
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Re: The Untold Story of Op Sarp Vinash

Postby ehsmang » 04 Aug 2003 09:36

I sincerely feel that Govt. of India should raise such non uniformed forces from the plains also. People who are willing to fight the NaPakis on a voluntary basis. They can be provided rudimentary military training and maybe given duties like manning the fence, acting as fighting porters etc.

Aditya G
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Re: The Untold Story of Op Sarp Vinash

Postby Aditya G » 04 Aug 2003 11:36

Here is a report that appeared in HT recently (not connected to OpSV):

<B>Kashmir - Armed Shepards Foil Militant Attack in Doda</B>

A desparate bid by militants to massacre more than 30 Hindu shepherds in the mountainous Doda district, close on the Himachal border, was foiled by a defence committee on Friday-Saturday night.

According to reports, a group of more than 20 militants descended on to Letru Dhok in Paddar area of Doda district past midnight on Friday and asked the Dhok defence committee to surrender their arms. The armed group of shepherds retaliated and a gunfight ensued.

"The gunfight continued into the morning", said IGP Nabin Aggarwal, who flew down on receiving reports that the shepherds have been held hostage.

All shephards were from Tiari village of Doda.

Both the villagers and the police suspected that by disarming the shepherds, the militants planned to kill them.

[Hindustan Times] [Thursday, 28.07.2003]

Mehta
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Re: The Untold Story of Op Sarp Vinash

Postby Mehta » 14 Aug 2003 23:49

Ashok Chakra for Op Sarp Vinash martyr

http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/aug/14josy.htm


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