LeT, HuJI Luring Gujarati Youths: Officials
16 August 2003
The Times of India
New Delhi: Pakistan-based militant outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami are luring youths from Gujarat to militancy and sending them across to training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir through Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. 'Some batches of 65-68 Gujarati youths have been pushed into PoK along the Line of Control via Poonch,' top official sources said. These youths, brought from Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Godhra and other areas of Gujarat, were being sent across the border by module networks of LeT and HuJI operating for the last one-and-a-half years, they said. One such LeT module came to light with the arrest of two ISI agents - Mohammad Lateef Pathan and Mohammad Sadiq Malik - after the Hillkaka operation in Surankote in Poonch district in which a slain militant was identified as Munir Ahmed, a butcher from Ahmedabad, they said. Lateef, a resident of Kullian in Poonch and a truck driver by profession, confessed to having ferried 36 Gujarati boys in three to four trips from the state to Poonch and handing them over to Malik, an overground supporter of LeT during the last one year, the sources said. The two gave Rs 10 lakh to religious institutions of a particular community for the purpose, the sources said, adding the youths took to gun culture after the Akshardham temple attack in Gandhinagar, which was carried out by LeT militants. Malik revealed during interrogation that he had handed over these youths to LeT coordination commander Lateef Baba alias Colonel Akram, who pushed them into PoK training camps of LeT, the sources said. Pathan was paid Rs 1 lakh for each trip to carry boys from Gujarat to Poonch, they said adding some Gujarati boys were trained in Hillkaka ranges in Poonch and inducted into LeT and HuJI. The training camps in PoK were located near the LoC at Malanwali, Sensa, Nikiyal, Kotli, Mirpur, Chakoti, Dudhniyal, Kahute, Samani, Gujjar Doke, Doba, Sank, Murdike and Chakwal. The sources further said that 12 Gujarati women had married and settled in Poonch border belt to create a setup and security agencies were keeping a close watch on them. Security and intelligence agencies and police of Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir were exchanging information and photographs of militants to crack down on the Gujarat-Poonch militant links, they said.