August 2017 News

Hizbul Wiped Out JKLF Before Dominating Valley Militancy

20 August 2017
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Hizbul Mujahideen was formed by a Jamiat-e-Islami worker, Master Ahsan Dar, in 1989. Dar had crossed over to PoK in 1988 for arms training and returned to Kashmir in 1989 and began recruiting local youth for jihad. But he kept his outfit low key. Dar was joined by Mohammad Yousuf Shah, another staunch Jamiat supporter, who later gained notoriety as Syed Salauddin of the United Jihad Council. The two together expanded the group and tried to take over from the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, which advocated complete independence or 'azadi' for Kashmir - not its merger with Pakistan. HuM strategically allowed JKLF to target Kashmiri Pandits and mainstream politicians, close cinema halls and ban liquor in the Valley. The expansion of JKLF and its dominance in the Valley worried both Jamiat and Pakistan. In 1990, Dar came out in the open and started issuing statements in the press warning Pandits to leave valley 'within 48 hours'. In Srinagar, Dar was joined by one Mohammed Abdullah Bangroo. HuM formally came into being in April 1990 with Bangroo joining as 'military advisor' while Dar was the chief of operations. There was no dearth of funds or arms. Within a year, HuM had over 10,000 armed cadres. The outfit's first major strike is believed to have been Mirwaiz of Kashmir, Moulvi Mohammed Farooq, the father of current Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. According to police, Bangroo and his two associates conspired to kill Moulvi Farooq on May 21, 1990. A large number of people took to streets protesting against Farooq's killing, forcing the Armed forces to fire in which 26 people were killed. The joining of Yousuf Shah alias Syed Salauddin led to Ahsan Dar's expulsion. Salauddin took over Hizb leadership by 1991. Dar, however, formed his own group along with loyalists, naming it 'Muslim Mujahideen'. The group, however, quickly fell apart after his arrest in 1993. HuM thereafter tried to eliminate JKLF cadre by providing intelligence to security forces and even killed JKLF men themselves in clashes. Nearly 300 JKLF cadre were killed by HuM.

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