Dar Killing Result Of Hizb Internal Rift
23 March 2003
New Delhi: The killing of Abdul Majid Dar, former chief operational commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), is seen as a major setback to the peace process initiated by the Centre and the State of Jammu and Kashmir. A classified report said Dar's assassination was the direct result of an ongoing conflict in the HM cadre, which started in July 2000 when Dar, in keeping with the wishes and aspirations of the local cadre, declared a ceasefire and proposed a dialogue for resolution of the Kasmiri problem. Since then, Dar loyalists were facing the combined wrath of Hizbul Mujahideen's Pakistan based chief Syed Salahuddin and the ISI. Dar's killing was a gruesome reminder of this fact. Majid Dar was reportedly under intense pressure from his supporters in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to return there and take charge of the Tanzeem and lead it according to the their own wishes. Dar had agreed to visit PoK in next few days. Pakistan based leaders could not have digested the information, sources said. Reports suggest that news of Dar's killing had sent shock waves in the entire Valley and his supporters were livid and violence within the militant outfits could erupt as a fallout of the incident. It would also have an impact on the image of Syed Salahuddin among the people and the Hizbul Mujahideen cadre, something which security agencies would relish under the circumstances. A section of them already see him as a whimsical and selfish leader who was totally out of touch with ground reality. The first casualty of Salahuddin and ISI's attempts to marginalise Dar in the Valley was Farooq Mircha, northern divisional commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen. Salahuddin later removed Majid Dar from his command in a bid to stall any peace process. This, however, did not make a dent on Dar's support base and this led to a revolt within the Hizbul Mujahideen and Dar's supporters in PoK openly clashed with the hardliners in Haripur camp in the PoK. The infighting had its effects on Salahuddin also. His position as a leader was seriously weakened and he reportedly could not even visit the outfits camps during recent festivals. The ISI was seriously contemplating to remove Salahuddin from the the Jehad Council.