September 2003 News

JeM admits Gazi Baba killed, threatens revenge

1 September 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Intelligence agencies have intercepted a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) message from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to avenge the encounter killing of Jaish Jammu and Kashmir operations chief Gazi Baba, Border Security Force Director General Ajai Raj Sharma said today. The message from the PoK JeM senior commander to all cadres in the Valley reads 'Gazi Baba Aur Unke Naib Chale Gaye Hain. Allah Unki Shahadat Ko Kabool Farmaye, Hum Ahad Karte Hai Key Unkey Mission Ko Jari Rakhna Hain... Dushman Khushian Mana Raha Hai, Unki Khushion Ko Matam Main Badalna Hai... Aapne Jab Tak Khoon Ka Badla Na Liya Tab Tak Allah Ki Nusrat Nahin Rehti..' It was also possible that they were currently trying to regroup across the border, Mr Sharma said. Returning this evening after an inspection of Qamarwari locality in downtown Srinagar, the site of the BSF-JeM encounter on Saturday morning, the BSF DG told a news conference here that the 'overall security scenario' in Kashmir remained much the same with a two- month summer let-up during the peak tourist season. The BSF DG said with this success, the JeM had been demoralised and was bound to try vendetta strikes on 'BSF camps, senior officers and such like'. 'The militants are quite clever and do not want to totally alienate the local populace' by targetting the Valley during the tourist season, he said. The message intercepted by the BSF yesterday clearly said that Gazi Baba and his associate Rashid Bhai had become 'shaheed' (martyrs). This intercept has confirmed the death of Gazi Baba, whose body had been identified by his wife and by a television journalist who had interviewed the Jaish commander just after the Kandahar hijacking. He said a digital diary containing coded information and a satellite phone belonging to Gazi Baba (latest set code 39) have been seized so far. 'Experts are examining these and more information is likely to be revealed on analysis'. From the site of the encounter, electronic detonators, wireless sets, four kg of RDX in a jerry can, AK series assault rifles and IEDs have been seized. The house in which the militants were hiding had been reduced to rubble and once the debris was removed more details would be unearthed, he said. 'Potentially, it appears to be a hideout with a huge store of ammunition and explosives,' Mr Sharma said. The BSF Director General said at any given time there were upwards of 2,500 militants and nearly 70 per cent of them were 'foreign elements' — mostly from Pakistan and PoK. 'Let us not call them insurgents as they are not the indigeneous Kashmiris and, therefore, should be called militants,' he added. He pointed out militancy in Jammu and Kashmir had taken a possible turn for the worse with 'educated and well-read people' taking to the gun. At least three out of every ten militants apprehended seemed to be quite qualified. Gazi Baba was an 'explosives expert, could drive any vehicle and was a brilliant tactician,' while many of the militants killed or apprehended by the BSF this year had degrees in computers and other modern disciplines, Mr Sharma said. Answering a question, Mr Sharma said no positive links had been established between the Mumbai twin blasts, the Delhi encounter killings and the Bulandshahar arrests, but it was 'all part of a larger ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) design to cause disturbances' and for a militancy spillover from the Valley. On the entry points of the militants, he said though the routes kept changing through India’s porous borders with Nepal, Bangladesh and other neighbours but the object remained the same. Describing the killing of Gazi Baba as one of the biggest achievements of BSF, Sharma said the slain militant’s wife had given a statement identifying his body. 'We have done careful cross-checks on his identity and only then we came to conclude that it was him. But if anybody has any evidence contrary to it, we have an open mind on it,' he said. Among other things that have been helpful in proving the identity of Gazi Baba were the prominent mark on his eyebrow, eye-tests, the dental structure and the testimony of a BSF source who had seen the militant during his lifetime, Sharma said. The BSF chief said the force had been targetting the mastermind of the Parliament attack case for the past few months and had expected the breakthrough to come early. 'We had zeroed in on him several times but missed him narrowly,' he admitted. He said the militants had the capability of carrying out revenge attacks but the BSF was ready to meet the challenge. In a word of caution to his jawans, Sharma said 'no security force, after making a big achievement, should sit tight and think nothing else will happen...They (Jaish) are capable of doing it (striking) and we expect them to do it.' (Agencies)


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