April 2002 News

Jaish, Lashkar, Hizbul join hands

9 April 2002
The Tribune
M. L. Kak

Jammu: Activists of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen are said to have joined hands for carrying out joint operations against the security forces in Poonch and Rajouri sectors. According to official sources, a number of strikes against the security forces in Poonch and Rajouri districts during the past one month were found to have been carried out jointly by rebels belonging to these three organisations. The security forces had to face moments of anxiety when activists of these outfits increased their strike capability in Gurdanbala (Rajouri), Mendhar (Poonch) and the armed attack on the 25 Divisional Headquarters in Rajouri. What seems to be worrying state government agencies, including the police, is the participation of Afghan guerrillas in these operations. Another worry is that the rate of infiltration from across Poonch and Rajouri has registered an upward curve in recent days. A majority infiltrators, according to police sources, are Afghan guerrillas. The sources said these Afghan mujahideen have been enrolled with the Hizbul Mujahidden outfit, which otherwise is dominated by local militants. In support of their contention they cite the instance of elimination of Abu Azad Afghani in Surankot area of Poonch today from whom large quantities of weapons, ammunition and explosives were recovered. Afghani was a dreaded terrorist and belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen. According to inputs received by state government agencies, more than 4,000 militants, most of them foreign mercenaries, are waiting across Poonch, Rajouri, Uri, Kupwara and Bandipore Sectors for sneaking into Jammu and Kashmir. While the mountain border routes in Poonch and Rajouri have become passable with the melting of snow, the ones in north Kashmir will be free of snow within the next one month. Official sources said three factors have prompted Pakistani agencies to push into Jammu and Kashmir bigger groups of terrorists, including the Taliban. First, people in the state are scared by the implementation of POTA and are not prepared to give shelter to the militants. According to a Defence Ministry spokesman, a conversation between two leaders of the Hizbul Mujahideen intercepted by the security agencies, revealed that people refuse direct or indirect help to the militants, fearing that they may be arrested under the POTA. The intercepted message read: I have Rs 2500 and six litres of oil. I cannot keep these at a place you have suggested. The people of that house are afraid and do not allow us to get inside their residences. The situation is the same here. Civilians do not allow us to go inside their houses, stating they will suffer loses if the Army comes here and arrests us under the POTA. Second, the Pakistani agencies have decided to not only scare away moderate separatists planning to take part in the ensuing Assembly poll, but are hell bent on creating a situation in which the elections are postponed. Third, these agencies have found the morale of the militants, operating in the state during the past over one year, down. In order to boost their sagging spirit, they have assured them that more manpower and weapons will be with them in the next two months. The sources said the next two months are crucial as far as the level of militancy is concerned because Pakistani agencies have set April 15 and 21 as the date for starting fresh infiltration from across Uri, Bandipore and Kupwara Sectors.


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