Are Maoists, LeT In Cahoots In J&K?
13 February 2007
The Times of India
Srinagar: Between trying to maintain peace and improving its tarnished image following the fake encounters, Army now has another headache to deal with - a Maoist and Lashkar-e-Taiba nexus in Kashmir. The arrest of Pasang Lama - a Maoist, according to the Army - has revealed that the Lashkar-e-Taiba links with the Nepalese insurgents are much deeper than suspected earlier. Interrogation has led the Army to the conclusion that Maoists, posing as Pashmina traders, may be paying huge sums of money to Lashkar-e-Taiba men operating in the Valley for supplies of arms and ammunition to sustain the insurgency in the neighbouring country. Defence spokesman Lt Col V K Mathur on Tuesday said Pasang Lama was arrested along with another Kashmiri - Mohammed Younis, identified as a courier and pointsperson for the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pasang Lama is believed to have been negotiating a Rs 5 lakh deal with Lashkar-e-Taiba men operating in Rafiabad belt in Baramulla district when he was arrested. 'Pasang Lama was in Baramula district for negotiations with LeT cadre. He was arrested at Binner village. His interrogation has revealed the deeper links of Maoist with terrorists operating in Kashmir,' said Mathur said. Police sources said Pasang Lama, who has been remanded to judicial custody, had brought a cheque of Rs 2.77 lakh to hand over to the LeT. 'This was the first installment that was to be paid for the arms,' the source said. 'His interrogation has revealed that he was moving in the disguise of a Pashmina trader for the past five years and was operating out of Srinagar and neighbouring towns,' Mathur said, adding that he had confessed to having links with 'terrorists as well as some affluent Valley citizens'.