Rajouri is a Town in the Rajouri District in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The town is about 155 kilometers from Srinagar and 150 km from Jammu city. The town is famous for Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University and the Sikh general Banda Singh Bahadur. Operation Sarp Vinash made Rajauri a bit more famous.
Last ten year has been peaceful for the remote villages of Rajouri. There has not been a terrorist activity in a decade. People live peacefully in small villages spread far and wide in the mountains. Locals Gujjars keep their cattle comfortably.
But it wasn’t always peaceful like this before. Terrorists ruled Rajouri till two decades ago. This peace happened when the local Gujjars decided to fight with the Indian Army and police against terrorism.
Terrorists from Pakistan used to stay and hide here in the mountains.
They used to train and then cross pir panajal and carry out terrorist attacks in the southern part of Kashmir.
How & Why Operation Sarp Vinash started:
After Kargil, terrorists had started to build their hideouts in the hills of pir panjal. Soon the high mountains that divide Jammu and Kashmir became their safe haven. Local Gujjars roam those mountains with their cattle. Gujjars built temporary bases called dhokas all over the place, which they used to rest and for several other stuffs. The terrorist took over these and made them their strong base. They intended to launch a guerrilla attack across Jammu and Kashmir by building a secure base here.
One Local Gujjar Death lead To Their Destruction:
The terrorists carried out mass massacres to intimidate the people here into fearing and supporting them. But one kill created such a wave of hatred against terrorists.
These terrorists killed a Gujjar youth of Hill Kaka village in the year 2002 as they suspected him of being an informer. This incident inspired many Gujjar youths, including the deceased young’s Brother, to take up arms against the terrorists. All these youths used to work in Saudi Arabia. Many of them came back to get revenge and contacted The Army.
They told the Army about their place of bases. As per them, they had every facility available to them like rations, drinking water, Security, and even hospital.
Army and police trusted their information, and major operation was started. Operation name was Operation Sarp Vinash. Gujjars were arms trained by the Indian Army. Special forces nine paras were a vital part of this operation, on the hills of hill kaka. The first attack was carried out in January 2003. but then due to heavy snowfall made it impossible.
The operation was launched on April 22. Special Group of police, Army along with local Gujjars. the operation continued in 150 sq km till June.
This was the first major military operation after Kargil, which caught the attention of the whole country. This operation was on such a scale that Helicopters and artillery were used in it. The terrorist who killed that Gujjar Youth in Hill Kaka was killed in action.
“Tahir Fazal Chaudhary, Brother of Gujjar youth, who was the head of this campaign, says that no terrorist could stand before us. He said, ‘Gujjars take training as soon as they are born to climb and descend the mountain. When he got the support of the army police, it became very easy to eliminate the terrorists.”
Sixty-five terrorists were killed in operation. Security forces destroyed their 119 fixed position. The Army recovered 47 assault rifles, 11 foreign pistols, 12 machine guns, 19 under-barrel grenade launchers, 178 grenades, 25 mines, and a rocket launcher, including a large amount of ammunition. Seven thousand kg of Rice were recovered, Enough to feed 300 terrorists for the whole winter.
Tora Bora hills of Afghanistan-like bunker were built, which was 20-40 ft deep in the mountains. In those, bunkers 50 terrorists could take shelter at a time. They were destroyed in the bombing.
Operation Sarp Vinash broke the backbone of terrorists.
Operation Sarp Vinash broke the back of terrorists in the south of Pir Panjal. In response, they carried out some attacks in remote villages but were quickly eliminated by local people and security forces. Terrorism is now only an old memory for the people living in the villages here. For the past several years, no terrorist gang has dared to commit any crime in these areas.