October 2005 News

Quake has hit Hizb, Lashkar hard: Army

15 October 2005
The Hindu
Special Correspondent

New Delhi: Two militant organisations operating from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have suffered major losses in the October 8 earthquake, the Army's Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO), Madan Gopal, told newspersons here on Saturday. The Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) have lost several activists but both the organisations continue to be active in Jammu and Kashmir. The security forces have gunned down 29 militants since the quake struck, he added. The officer declined to estimate the militant casualties due to the earthquake, saying it would take time to get complete information. However, messages intercepted indicate that the HM seemed to have lost more men than the LeT. This could affect their operations in Jammu and Kashmir. The first publicly revealed assessment by the Army tallied with that by other intelligence agencies. As is the case with the Army, other agencies are not stating the number of terrorists killed by the quake but assert that several of the 50 permanent terrorist training and communication camps in Pakistan had been damaged with HM being the worst hit. They claimed that the communication centres of HM (near Muzaffarabad) and Tehrik-e-Mujahiddin (Tohit) were among those which suffered severe damage. Though the security forces are involved in relief operations there has been no let-up in operations. The forces are 'carrying out a happy balance of relief operations and are also not letting their guard down in anti-militancy operations,' Lt. Gen. Gopal said at a briefing organised by the Union Home Ministry. In fact, the terrorist organisations attempted two major infiltrations soon after the quake struck in an effort to capitalise on the disruption caused by the natural disaster. But these were detected and neutralised by the security forces. Apart from the effect of losses suffered due to the earthquake, militancy in the State tends to decline during this period due to snow in the higher reaches, the DGMO added.


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