PoK terror camps hit by Covid, Kashmiri trainees may die: J-K DGP

The revelation has come as intelligence agencies, too, say Pakistan is pushing terrorists infected with COVID-19 into Kashmir.

The terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have been hit by the coronavirus and some Kashmiris undergoing training in those camps could die of COVID-19 as ‘nobody bothers about them’, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh has said.

Citing an intercepted phone-call made by a trainee from his PoK camp to his family in Kashmir, Singh said there are fears that the desperate terrorists would try to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir and spread the deadly virus in the Valley.

The revelation has come as intelligence agencies, too, say Pakistan is pushing terrorists infected with COVID-19 into Kashmir.

“There are reports that somebody from a training camp in Pakistan, where he is being trained, made a call to his family members here (Kashmir), telling them that some of the trainees from Kashmir have been infected by the coronavirus,” the DGP told PTI in an interview.

“He was telling them that some of them would die of the coronavirus in the training camps and nobody bothers about them,” he said.

The phone-call has raised serious concerns that those who crossed the border would try to return due to the outbreak in the camps.

“They are infected with coronavirus and if they come to this side (Kashmir), they will pass on the infection to other cadres. This is a very serious concern,” he said.

Pakistan has reactivated at least 20 terror camps and another 20 launch pads along the Line of Control and increased its efforts since October last year to ensure infiltration of as many terrorists as possible into Jammu and Kashmir.

The camps and launch pads, with at least 50 terrorists in each, were reactivated after remaining shut for months following the bombing of a Central Reserve Police Force bus in Pulwama in February 2019 and the subsequent retaliatory bombing of terror camps in Balakot by the Indian Air Force.

The DGP said 250 to 325 terrorists were waiting on the launchpads to cross over to Jammu and Kashmir, where over 240 terrorists are already operating in hinterlands.

On Wednesday, four terrorist associates of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba were arrested in Budgam district and arms and ammunition were seized from them, police said.

The police chief also said the burial process of terrorists have been changed to avoid crowds due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The bodies of terrorists are being buried away from crowds,” he said.

“We don’t want a large number of the people to unnecessarily gather. That was a serious violation of COVID-19 (protocols), so we revised our drills,” he added.

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