Hizbul on terror outfits

Hizbul Chief Guiding Cadres Of 13 Pak-Based Kashmir-Centric Terror Outfits: NIA

Self-styled supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, Syed Salahudeen, is guiding and instructing the cadres of the banned terror group as well as activists of United Jihad Council (UJC)– a conglomerate of around 13 Pakistan-based Kashmir centric terror outfits, National Investigation Agency (NIA) said.

As per the anti-terror agency, Salahudeen alias Mohammed Yusuf Shah has been guiding and instructing these activists of the UJC from Pakistan.
The Central probe agency said that Salahudeen is the chairman of the UJC which is also known as Muttahida Jihad Council (MJC)– an umbrella organisation of terror outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed that operate out of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The 77-year-old terrorist Salahudeen, who had fled to Pakistan in 1993, was designated as an individual terrorist by India in October 2020, said the NIA, adding “the designated terrorist continues to operate from Pakistan.”

The NIA made the revelation after its fresh action against Salahudeen’s two sons– Shahid Yusuf and Syed Ahmed Shakeel. Earlier on Monday, the agency attached two immovable properties of Yusuf and Shakeel that are located in Kashmir’s Soibugh area in Budgam district and Nursing Garh’s Mohalla Ram Bagh area in Srinagar district. The properties have been attached under section 33(1) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.

Both Shahid Yusuf and Syed Ahmed Shakeel are lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail since their arrest in October 2017 and August 2018. They were chargesheeted on April 20, 2018, and November 20, 2018, respectively.

“Yusuf and Shakeel had been receiving funds from abroad from the associates of their father and overground workers of Hizbul Mujahideen,” said the NIA, adding “besides instigating and operationalising militant activities in India, primarily in Kashmir valley, Syed Salahudeen has been raising funds and routing finances to India through trade routes, Hawala channels, and international money transfer channels for furthering the terrorist activities of Hizbul Mujahideen cadres.”

The property attachment of Salahuddin’s sons is based on NIA’s investigation into a terror conspiracy case registered by the agency in 2011 naming Yusuf and Shakeel among other accused.

The NIA launched investigations in November 2011 into the criminal conspiracy to raise, collect and provide funds to commit terrorist acts and distribute funds among the terror groups and their sympathizers in Jammu and Kashmir for the purpose of committing terrorist acts.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had initially registered a case in January 2011 and the NIA subsequently took over the case. Chargesheets as well as Supplementary Chargesheets were filed against eight accused in the case, including in 2011 and 2018.

In a money laundering probe related to terror funding case involving Salahudeen, the Enforcement Directorate has also alleged that Jammu Kashmir Affectees Relief Trust (JKART) was a front through which Hizbul Mujahideen received Rs 80 crore between 2004 and 2011 to carry out terror activities in India.

Salahuddin was declared a specially designated global terrorist by the US Department of State in June 2017 on charges that he “vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir Valley into a graveyard for Indian forces. “

Born Mohammed Yusuf Shah, Salahudeen changed his name after taking over as head of the militant outfit in the late eighties. Hizbul Mujahideen is one of the several homegrown militant groups that have for decades been fighting for an independent Kashmir or a merger with Pakistan.

Prior to joining the Hizbul Mujahideen, Salahudeen unsuccessfully contested in the 1987 Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections from the Amirakadal constituency. Salahudeen has been vocal in his anti-India stand. He has also time and again mentioned Pakistan’s role in the Kashmir unrest. (ANI)

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Kashmir Headed For A Hot Summer

While the nation including the politicians, bureaucrats, police, public and last but not the least Corona warriors that include doctors, nurses and hospital staff are busy combating Covid-19, militancy in Kashmir is picking up with the onset of summer months. India need to remain vigilant.

Traditionally, there is a spurt in infiltration attempts with the opening of passes but the last month has seen unprecedented bloody encounters resulting in the death of 22 security personal including Col Ashutosh Sharma, Maj Anuj Sood and three other brave hearts. The tracking down and final elimination of a prominent leader of Hizbul Mujahideen Riaz Naikoo, is a shot in the arm of security forces, but should not be termed as retaliatory or revenge operation as covered by the mainstream media.

While the world is desperately fighting against the global Coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan has been continuously perpetuating proxy war. It is reliably learnt that Pakistan is motivating Covid-10 affected terrorists to infiltrate and carry out violent actions against Indian security forces so that they can go to heaven after their martyrdom. While Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind remain the main active Tanzeems, Lakshar-e-Taiba leadership in Pakistan has floated a new outfit called The Resistance Front to give an indigenous look and ward off the pressure from Financial Action Task Force.

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A lid was kept on the internal security situation with a heavy hand by overwhelming deployment of security forces ever since article 370 was abrogated in early August 2019 but the dissatisfaction and disenchantment amongst the Kashmiris was brewing over time. Come November and as winter set in, the infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) came down to a trickle.

The central government thought that the security forces were on top of the situation; but it was the combination of the curfew, crowd control measures, uncertainty, prolonged house arrest of political leaders, blocking of internet and social media and the inclement weather that did not allow terrorists groups to reorganise and operate freely during the winter months. This period also witnessed a reduction in number of stone throwing incidents as the locals were not sure whether the security forces will continue to show restraint or use adequate requisite force.

At the beginning of this year, schools and colleges in Kashmir started reopening, internet was restored and the situation appeared to be inching towards normalcy in the Valley. Ironically, as the 70-odd Kashmiri political leaders including Abdullahs were released in March from house arrest, the rest of the nation was confined to homes due to the threat of Covid-19 and Kashmiris came at par with the rest of the countrymen. The security forces in Kashmir had to have a balancing act of fighting on two fronts, militancy and Covid-19. That is not an easy task.

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A few questions have arisen as to why the armed forces are facing so many casualties including those among senior officers. The answer lies in the ethos of the officers of the Indian Army.

The Indian Army has a tradition of officers leading from the front. This was evident during the various wars fought after Independence. Officer casualties have been proportionately higher than the other ranks.

This is also true for some other armies of the world. Israel is a shining example. In the Armoured Corps Memorial and Museum at Yad La-Shiryon, Latrun, there are over two thousand names of officers and enlisted men who have died between the age of eighteen to twenty years.

It was heartening to see that one section of the museum in Israel is dedicated to an Indian army officer; Lt Gen JFR Jacob, a Jew who was the brain behind the meticulous planning of operations in East Pakistan, later Bangladesh, in Indo-Pak War of 1971. Incidentally, in the 1971 War a large number of casualties were officers from the batch that got commissioned on 13 November 1971, from Indian Military Academy, barely three weeks prior to the war.

In Kashmir, Handwara has traditionally been a hot bed since it has thick forests around it like Machipora, Kainyar, Kandi, Harfudda, Saren, Dalar, Surhalu and Galganjan. Its proximity to the LoC gives it the correct positioning for reception areas after the infiltrations. Infiltrating groups come to these forests, have their rest and the recoup and plan operations using these forests as bases.

Invariably over the years, there have been bloody encounters with security forces. The army has always had one to two Special Forces teams operating in these areas alongside the Rashtriya Rifles and regular infantry battalions operating in a grid pattern in the hinterland.

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Detailed analyses of the counter insurgency operations in J&K since 1989 reveal that the maximum casualties to own troops are either at the beginning of the operation when the exact location of the terrorist is not really known to the troops and they are fired upon by terrorists hiding in houses or under natural cover; or at the end of the successful encounter when own troops in a rush of adrenaline, close in to mop up the operation but some half dead terrorist opens up at close range knowing fully well that he is going to die. In both cases, the officers are generally leading and have greater chances of becoming casualties.

The 15 Corps Commander, Lt Gen BS Raju in a recent interview claimed that the leadership of various Tanzeems active in the Valley and named above; has been eliminated. Basu says local recruitment has come down by 45 percent. However there are further dangers.

The US pullout from Afghanistan will give Pakistan leverage over Afghan terror groups who can be easily diverted to Kashmir. The foreign constituents of terrorist networks would substantially be increased. Regarding the leadership, most of these Tanzeems work in cellular system and there is always a standby leader who takes the place of the slain leader. Sometimes the same alias like Abu Bakker is also inherited by the new leader.

Since Pakistan was not able to get adequate traction and leverage in its relentless diplomatic efforts to isolate India internationally after the abrogation of Article 370, it is likely to push a large number of terrorist groups into the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir this summer. Our brave officers and jawans are having to fight on two fronts, the Covid-19 pandemic and the terrorist escalation from across the border. The launch pads and training areas as per the Corps Commander, are working at full capacity and therefore we need to be fully prepared for a hot summer in the Kashmir Valley. Ready the Indian Security Services will be.