Clashes in Hizb's PoK camps after Majid Dar's killing
23 March 2003
The Hindustan Times
Udayan Namboodiri/Chandan Nandy
New Delhi: Within hours of Abdul Majid Dar's murder, clashes broke out at Hizb- ul-Mujahideen camps in PoK between the slain leader's followers and members of the faction led by Hizb supreme commander Syed Salahuddin. There were clashes at camps in Kotli, Mirpur, Oggi, Jungal-Mangal, Haripur and Gadhi-Dupatta, senior officials said quoting specific inputs. Dar was slated to take charge of these ISI-run stations, where tensions between the two factions had been simmering. 'Obviously Salahuddin could not digest this,' a senior official said. High placed sources were sure of Salahuddin's hand in the murder of the Kashmir-born Dar. They think Salahuddin was nervous over the prospect of an imminent test of strength. Salahuddin's men are believed to have been behind the recent murder of a Kashmiri journalist, Parvez Sultan, who had written a story about the impending break-up of Hizb. A series of clashes between the two factions have been noted since mid-2002. The biggest of them occurred at the Haripur camp inside PoK in November, in which two Salahuddin loyalists were killed. Since then, the ISI has taken care to keep the two factions separate. Most of Dar's boys were kept in the Tanzeem camp in PoK, but even those kept in the other stations were lately found switching loyalty to the Kashmiryat cause espoused by Dar. Salahuddin had sabotaged a ceasefire that Dar unilaterally declared in July 2000. At the ISI's prodding, Salahuddin insisted on the inclusion of Pakistan in the dialogue table. Salahuddin had been finding himself boxed in by Dar's rising popularity and the Indian security forces' tight vigilance on the Line of Control. He had been forced to move his loyalists through the Bangladesh route. Sunday's murder was, therefore, planned with a view to end a turf war that was slipping out of the ISI's control.