March 2018 News

J-K Police Trying To Ascertain Identity Of 'new' Kashmir Jaish Chief

9 March 2018
The Hindustan Times
Ashiq Hussain

Srinagar: Police are trying to ascertain the identity of a Pakistani militant who is believed to have taken over as the commander of Jaish-e-Muhammad in Kashmir, a top police official said on Friday. Social media was abuzz with news of a person identified as Hafiz Umar, seen in photographs holding an assault rifle. His age was not known. The new JeM chief in Kashmir was apparently named after the death of its former commander Mufti Waqas in south Kashmir's Pulwama district. 'There have been posts on social media about the new leader of the outfit. We are trying to ascertain the fact,' said Kashmir inspector general of police SP Pani. Not much is known about the new leader in keeping with the JeM's policy of not naming its commanders publicly. Two major commanders of Jaish have been killed in south Kashmir in less than three months. On March 5, security forces killed operational commander of the outfit, Mufti Waqas , a foreigner, in south Kashmir's Pulwama district. Waqas is said to have masterminded the attack on the army camp in Sunjuwan on February 10 in which six soldiers and a civilian were killed. Waqas was also involved in attacks in Lethpora, Pulwama district police lines and a BSF camp at Srinagar airport. 'Waqas's elimination, like the way it happened abruptly, was a major blow to JeM,' said Pani. This opinion was echoed by the outfit as well. 'The martyrdom of Mufti Waqas is a big tragedy for Jaish-e-Mohammad and the freedom movement,' JeM had said in a statement. Before Waqas, a Kashmiri, Noor Mohammad Tantray (47), had taken the mantle of Jaish. Tantray, just four feet tall and a resident of Aripal in Pulwama district, was killed on December 17 last year.