Hizbul Militants, People Attack Lashkar Hideout In Surankote
15 August 2000
The Daily Excelsior
Rajouri: The foreign mercenaries dominated Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and local militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, joined by local people, openly clashed last night at village Niki Mori Dhok in Mehrot village of Surankote tehsil in Poonch district. A militant of LeT outfit was killed and another seriously injured in the clash. The open fighting between the two outfits in which HM was assisted by villagers was the outcome of harassment of local civilians by Lashkar activists, which was being strongly opposed by Hizbul Mujahideen, which mostly comprised local militants. DIG Rajouri-Poonch Range Ram Lubaya told EXCELSIOR that militants" infighting reached at its peak when LeT militant gunned down a prominent religious leader Haji Mumtaz in Mehrot village last month. The killing was strongly resented by local people as well as the activists of Hizbul Mujahideen. Yesterday again, the Lashkar militants handed over a severe thrashing to Haji Lal Hussain son of Jumma in Mehrot village. They alleged that Haji was supporting army and police operations in the village. Sources said the Hizbul Mujahideen militants and local people took serious exception to Lashkar activists" atrocities on local civilians and jointly attacked one of their hideout at Niki Mori Dhok late last night. A fierce exchange of gun-fighting ensued between Lashkar and Hizbul militants which reportedly continued for more than one hour. In the gun-fight, one Lashkar-e-Toiba militant was killed and another was seriously injured. Reportedly, there was no casualty on Hizbul side in the encounter. Other Lashkar militants, numbering about four, fled from the hideout alongwith their injured colleague. Hizbul militants snatched two rifles of deceased and injured Lashkar ultras and fled from the spot. Army and police reached Niki Mori Dhok village after getting a report of an open clash between Lashkar and Hizbul militants and launched a massive search operation in the village to track down the activists of warring groups. The operation launched in the village early this morning was going on till late this evening when the reports last came in but no breakthrough had been made so far. Official sources said this was for the first time that Lashkar and Hizbul militants clashed openly in Surankote area. Sources anticipated more such gun-battles between the two rival militant outfits in the near future as Lashkar activists were bent upon creating a wave of terror among the civilians in Surankote, which was being opposed by Hizbul Mujahideen. According to sources, the Lashkar militants were terrorising the civilians as latter had refused to provide them food and shelter. Instead, civilians were giving information to security forces about the hideouts of foreign mercenaries.