Pak-based terrorist groups inciting unrest again

The dastardly attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Jammu, resulting in the death of 10 persons, including a two-year-old boy, came as a grim reminder that the Pakistan-backed terrorists can strike at will to foment trouble in the region. The fact that an obscure outfit, Resistance Front (TRF), an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba, has claimed responsibility for the terror attack shows that the terror elements are enjoying official patronage in Pakistan. Islamabad must realise that it will have to pay the price for the misadventures of the so-called non-state actors operating on its soil. The tragedy struck the pilgrims who were on their way to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra when terrorists opened fire at the 53-seater bus, causing it to veer off the road and fall into a deep gorge near the Teryath village of the Poni area of Reasi. The bus was ferrying pilgrims from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The attackers were armed with AK-47s and M4 carbines. Following the attack, a joint operation was launched, involving the police, the Army, the National Investigation Agency and central intelligence agencies. The area poses a challenge for the security forces, given the dense forest, lack of water sources, threat of forest fires, steep slopes and crevices that work as a natural hideout. The attack came on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers took the oath for a third term in office. The latest strike highlights the ongoing danger from terrorist groups based in Pakistan who aim to incite unrest and rekindle militancy in the Jammu area.