August 2017 News

Hizb, LeT Militants Have Gone Into Hiding, Jaish Taking Charge: Police

29 August 2017
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Police on Tuesday said that a majority of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba militants have gone into hiding in the upper reaches of South Kashmir and are 'banking on the Jaish-e-Muhammad cadre.' Kashmir range inspector general of police Muneer Ahmad Khan told Greater Kashmir that they have information that militants belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba have 'gone underground' in the upper reaches of Tral area in Pulwama district following killing of their top commanders in the recent months. He said 'our investigations reveal that Jaish cadre has taken a frontal role in carrying out strikes on the government forces.' Asked whether reports that militants were surrendering their mobile phones were true, the Kashmir police chief said that they have no concrete information about it. 'But yes, it seems they have damaged their old SIM cards. It is not possible for them to survive without mobile phones; they need to stay in touch with each other. They may have managed to get new numbers or may stay without mobile phones,' Khan said. He said one of the Hizbul Mujahideen commanders Reyaz Naikoo had recently asked militants to surrender their mobile phones. 'But it's not a petition age,' he said, adding, 'They have to use technology.' Khan said that since militants seem to have changed their strategy by going into hiding, police will also chalk out a 'fresh strategy' to track them down. 'The operation all-out will continue,' he said. A police source said that it seems 'those across the LoC have devised a policy to assign the job of carrying out 'fidayeen' attacks to Jaish militants in a bid to save the left-over militants of Hizb and Lashkar.' 'Perhaps this is the reason why forces are not able to track the exact locations of militants despite conducting cordon-and-search operations in nearly a dozen villages at a time,' he said. Since August 12 this year, when the government forces killed top Hizb commander Muhammad Yasin alias Mehmood Gaznavi and his two associates in a gunfight in Awneera, Shopian, there has been no gunfight anywhere in Kashmir. Besides the killing of six top commanders Sabzar Bhat, Junaid Matoo, Ayoub Lelhari, Bashir Lashkari, Abu Dujana, Mehmood Gaznavi, at least 132 militants were killed in various gunfights this year (so far) in Kashmir Top army and police officers have been maintaining that killing top leaders of militants was a part of strategy framed in May this year 'to bring peace in Kashmir. ' The operation was named as 'Operation All-Out.'