Date: 11/28/2005


The 'invisible' terror in Valley/// Anand Soondas/// [ Sunday, November 27, 2005 03:20:16 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]/// HANDWARA/SRINAGAR: There is a new worry-crease on the troubled brow of security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir: over ground workers (OGWs). /// OGWs, who can be anyone from housewives, students, motor mechanics, milkmen, ministers, university professors and cobblers, use stealth and silence to create an environment conducive for subversive activities, say intelligence officers. /// Both 'sleeper' moles and hardcore militants, they are the ones who help terrorists plot, plan and execute attacks. And they are rapidly growing, like some fast multiplying strain of a malignant virus. /// From just 300 two years ago, OGWs in the state now add up to a scary 900, according to estimates by government sleuths. "It is a big problem," a top intelligence officer said. /// "And the worst part is that we cannot go all out against them as they hide under the garb of respectability in society. If you are to arrest a convent school teacher, you must have a lot of groundwork to back it up." /// Officers hint that the number of OGWs could have gone up so drastically because more money was being pumped in to resurrect a terrorist movement hit hard by developments following 9/11. "Fear, though, can be bought by greed," a DIG-level officer told TOI, explaining the phenomenon. /// But even 900 seems a conservative estimate. At Handwara, a police district two hours from Srinagar, policemen with the Special Operations Group (SOG) revealed a list with names of 315 OGWs. "This is in Handwara region alone," an officer said. /// A DIG with the CID added, "Money is definitely a great factor. It is coming from Pakistan."Sleuths said OGWs are used by terrorists in a gamut of covert operations. While some function as spokesmen for underground groups, others are financiers, indoctrinators, informers, double agents, propaganda specialists and shelter providers. /// There are yet others who assiduously go about setting up legit businesses from money pushed in by terrorists across the border. "The biggest problem, however, is infiltration into the political setup by these over ground workers," an SOG officer said in Handwara. /// "There are leaders whose main job is to create a noise every time a terrorist is arrested or killed. They spread rumours that security agencies have killed an innocent party worker. Often we have to let the arrested OGWs go due to political pressure. /// "Even as he said this, the wireless crackled and there was news of two terrorists attending a marriage function at an OGW's house in Mawar./// Quickly a raid party was rushed to Mawar to nab the terrorists, who leaving their AK-47s behind, fled. "The man who sheltered the two militants is an OGW but we have to be careful because he is some sort of a leader there," the officer said. /// A senior BSF officer in Srinagar said the development was fraught with danger. "One OGW is equal to 10 terrorists because he provides communication and transportation, arranges demonstrations and channels money through hawala. /// This silent subversion has to be stopped." Kashmir range police chief K Rajendra agreed it was a problem and that OGWs were under constant watch. /// .......................000000000