December 2016 News

'LeT Wanted To Spark Big Stir, But Didn't Get Local Support'

9 December 2016
Times of India
Bharti Jain & Neeraj Chauhan

New Delhi: The three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists killed in an encounter at Anantnag in south Kashmir on Thursday were planning to create fresh unrest in the Valley on the lines of disturbances that followed after Hizbul Mujahideen member Burhan Wani was gunned down in a similar encounter on July 8. The terrorists, identified as Majid Ahmad Zargar, Ruhul Amin Dar and Mohammed Waseem Mattoo, had expected widespread support from locals living around the hideout even as they engaged J&K police's special operations group, CRPF and Army personnel in the encounter. 'They wanted the protests by locals supporters to get out of hand and lead to a law & order face-off between the forces and local sympathisers. This, they believed, would have triggerred a fresh spell of unrest in the Valley,' a senior J&K police official pointed out. 'However, with locals failing to come in aggressive support and confining themselves to pelting stones at the forces, it seems their plans went awry, and they finally fell to the bullets after a protracted gunfight,' said the officer. Of the three terrorists killed, Zargar was a close aide of top Lashkar commander in south Kashmir Abu Dujana. He was handling the charge of divisional LeT commander in Kulgam. Dar too was a big LeT name, acting as district commander for it in Anantnag. Both were involved in various killings in south Kashmir. Meanwhile, TOI has learnt that Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin offered prayers in absentia (namaz-e-gaybana) for the three slain terrorists on Thursday. The gesture is reminiscent of similar prayers held by Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed for Burhan Wani in PoK after he was killed in an encounter in Kokernag on July 8. According to sources in the security establishment, the homage paid by the top leaders of LeT and Hizbul to each other's cadres killed in J&K points to how they work in tandem with each other. 'Though their ideologies are different, Kashmir and their common bosses based in Pakistan are the bonding factor between the two. While LeT is tapped by Hizbul for funds and weapons, Hizbul offers local support to foreign fighters of LeT as their cadre is familiar with the Kashmir terrain and other dynamics and can arrange the logistics,' said a J&K police officer.