March 2002 News

Crackdown against pro-India militants in J&K

15 March 2002
The Times of India

SRINAGAR: Police in Kashmir have launched a crackdown against a pro-India militant group believed to be the creation of Indian security agencies, a top officer said on Friday.''The crackdown was launched following complaints of extortion and excesses against the members of Ikhwan group,'' the officer said on condition of anonymity, referring to the group launched in 1994 by militant-turned-renegade Mohammed Yusuf, alias Kuka Parrey.Parrey was a major commander of a pro- Pakistan group before he switched sides and formed the pro-India Ikhwan.Ikhwan, made up mostly of former separatist militants, is widely believed to have been funded and armed by various security agencies in Kashmir. It was instrumental in breaking the back of militancy from 1994 until 1997, when its activities began to be confined.Kashmir experts believe the holding of provincial polls in 1996 were made possible by Ikhwan, which helped security forces keep militants away from polling stations.Parrey contested in the polls on the ticket of Ikhwan''s political wing, the Awami League, and was elected to the assembly.The crackdown against Ikhwan members started on March 3, when police arrested the group''s ''chief commander'' Abdul Rashid on charges of murder, banditry and extortion, the officer said.Rashid and his men were also allegedly involved in opening fire at a police party which had come to arrest them on February 28 in connection with a bank robbery case. On Wednesday evening police raided the house of Parrey''s brother Ghulam Rasool, alias Lassa Kak, in Ikhwan''s stronghold of Hajan, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Kashmir''s summer capital Srinagar.The police arrested Kak, believed to be Ikhwan''s chief organiser, along with his seven associates, including a top ''commander,'' Rashid Baccha.''Six AK rifles, one grenade launcher, five pouches and some ammunition were recovered from their possession,'' the officer said.The crackdown against the members of the group was launched by the police after directions by Kashmir valley''s Inspector General of Police K Rajdendra Kumar, he added.Parrey this month said he would form a united opposition against the ruling party in Kashmir during the forthcoming provincial polls, which are due in September.


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