May 2016 News

Jaish-e-Mohommad Trying To Gain Foothold In Kashmir Again

25 May 2016

Srinagar: After being pushed to margins, Maulana Masood Azhar led Jaish-e-Mohammad is raising its head in Jammu and Kashmir again. Intelligence sources said of the total 159 militants currently operating in J&K, only a few are from Jaish-e-Mohammad. Fear of Jaish revival, however, is giving sleepless nights to the security forces in the state. Intelligence agencies pointed out that the Jaish is making all efforts to push in small group of highly- trained militants into Kashmir to raise the cadre base from the local youth. Unlike south, north Kashmir has remained relatively peaceful which is the reason that Jaish has been tasked to revive militancy and shove off Lashkar-e-Taiba as a formidable force in the valley. Sources said Jaish's focus has been on the Baramulla, Sopore and Kupwara townships since January this year. The security forces have arrested two Pakistani Jaish fidayeens who were tasked to establish local modules for fidayeen attacks in Baramulla. After the arrest of Sadiq Gujjar (Pakistani Jaish commander) in February, Pakistani handlers had pushed in Abdul Rehman along with four other militants from Machil sector to recruit people for Jaish in Baramulla. But Rehman too was arrested which blew the lid off the conspiracy to revive Jaish in the north Kashmir. 'After Gujjar's arrest, there was a vacuum in Baramulla. He (Rehman) told us that he was tasked to do the recruitments. Their modus operandi was to give two weeks' training to the recruits after which arms and ammunitions was to be supplied. After the training, the handlers from Pakistan were supposed to issue orders about the targets,' said Major General JS Nian, general officer commanding of Baramulla-based army division. Intelligence agencies said Jaish has been trying to revive its existence in Kashmir for long. However, after the hanging of Afzal Guru, they have intensified their efforts to create a cadre base in the valley. It became evident when army repulsed a major fidayeen (suicidal) attack on its Gorkha Rifles camp near the Line of Control in Tangdhar on November 25. What rattled the forces was the recovery of bags inscribed with Afzal Guru Squad from the three slain Jaish-e-Mohammad militants. The attack and the recovery of Afzal Guru Squad bags was the first signal of the revival of Jaish after years of lying low in Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir. Founded by Maulana Masood Azhar, one of the three militants released in exchange of passengers of the Indian Airlines flight IC 814 in 1999, Jaish-e-Mohammad has been the deadliest group only second to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). But after 2001, security forces had managed to break the back of Jaish by eliminating its top brass, including Gazi Baba, the mastermind of Parliament attack. On October 4, 2015, two top Pakistani Jaish commanders Adil Pathan and Chota Burmi were killed in a surgical operation at Hariparigam Tral in south Kashmir's Pulwama district. Operating in the valley since 2010, the duo was involved in number of attacks on the security forces and civilians particularly in south Kashmir. 'We have adopted a new proactive policy to pre-empt their plans. If they succeed in their plans, Kashmir will slide back to 1990 when bloodbath was the order of the day,' said a top police officer. Under this proactive policy, security forces have killed seven top Jaish militants in Kupwara and Srinagar in the last five days. On Saturday, five foreign Jaish militants were killed in an encounter at Chek Drugmulla in Kupwara district. One soldier was also killed in the encounter. Two militants of Jaish including top commander Saifullah were killed in a brief encounter in Sarai Bala in Srinagar on Monday evening.