3 long-standing militants trying to revive militancy in Chenab Valley: Police

‘Won’t be allowed to succeed’

Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 18 2018 11:11PM | Updated Date: Nov 19 2018 2:02PM
3 long-standing militants trying to revive militancy in Chenab Valley: PoliceRepresentational Image

Of the five militants active in the Chenab Valley districts of Jammu province, three are old guards who are trying to revive militancy in the region, the police said on Wednesday, but asserted that “they won’t be allowed to succeed.” 

Deputy inspector general of police (Doda-Kishtwar range), Rafiqul Hassan, said three old militants who picked up arms in 1990 are trying to revive militancy in Kishtwar belt. 

“But,” he said, “we have not allowed them to succeed so far.” 

“There are continuous efforts being made to lure local boys into militancy (in Chenab Valley) and it is a cause of concern for us,” Hassan told Greater Kashmir, when asked about the number of active militants in Chenab Valley and the status of fresh militant recruitments. 

“We are countering all moves aimed at wooing boys to pick up arms. We are also countering the propaganda being run through social media,” he said.

According to police figures, there are five active militants—three of them old guards—hiding in mountains of Kishtwar district. 

“Two others are new recruits,” a source said. 

“In Doda, two youth who had picked up arms were killed in Kashmir. There may be one or two more militants there,” the source, privy to these figures, said. 

The source said in Ramban district, there are no militants “but a strong network of over-ground workers exists here.” 

“The police are after these OGWs. So far many OGW modules have been busted,” the source said.

According to the police, the active militants owe their allegiance to Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The police say efforts to revive militancy in the Chenab Valley received “back-to-back jolts” following a massive crackdown on OGWs, though many of them are still at large and “acting as a lifeline for the longest-surviving militants.”

Overall, the police believe, the number of active militants in Doda, Bhaderwah and Kishtwar may not be more than eight at present.

Social media is being used a major tool to woo local boys into militancy with the help of a long chain of OGWs, a police official claimed.

Following the recent killing of a top J&K Bharatiya Janata Party leader and his brother in Kishtwar on November 1, the police say they have stepped up vigil in the district to “plug possible recruitment of local youth into militancy.”

BJP’s state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajeet were killed by unidentified gunmen after they closed their shop in Kishtwar town. 

Governor Satya Pal Malik recently blamed militants for the killing of the Parihar brothers and said “the killers have been identified and will soon be punished.” 

A special investigation team, constituted to probe the killings, have got vital leads and will complete the probe in a few days, a senior police official said. 

According to official figures accessed by Greater Kashmir for the period 1990 to 1999, the number of active militants in Chenab Valley was 2135 (60 percent of them foreigners who managed to sneak in and 40 percent from Doda, Kishtwar, Bhaderwa, Gool, Poonch and Ramban areas.”

“During this period, infiltration was at its peak which resulted in a surge in number of active foreign militants in these areas,” a senior police official told Greater Kashmir, wishing not to be named as he wasn’t authorised to speak with media. 

The number of militants later gradually declined and came down to less than 200 in 2005, the official said. 

“Due to successful anti-militancy operations, the number of militants came down to some 40 to 50 in 2012—many of whom had migrated to Kashmir,” he said. 

He said that situation is “altogether different at present.”

“There is very less militancy in Chenab Valley today but efforts are on to revive it,” the official said. 

An army official based in a Chenab Valley district said that “the entire Chenab Valley is peaceful but strong efforts are being made to lure local boys into militant ranks.” 

“On the other hand, infiltration attempts too are taking place and we are foiling all the bids. We are also countering the social media propaganda aimed at wooing local boys into militancy and have succeeded to a large extent,” he said, requesting anonymity. 

In July this year, a youth Abid Hussain from Doda showed up in a photograph on a social networking site, wielding a gun, with the following text written on the image: “Abid Hussain Bhat @AbbuTurab, outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).” 

Abid, however, was killed in a gunfight in southern Kashmir on July 25 this year. On September 1, Haroon Abbas Wani, an MBA graduate from Ghat Doda joined the Hizbul Mujahideen. In August, another youth Masood Ahmad had also gone missing from his home in Doda and it was believed that he had joined a militant outfit.

In July this year, the police claimed to have busted a Hizbul Mujahideen OGW module in Kishtwar by arresting one “active OGW identified as Nisar Ahmed of Kishtwar.” 

The police claimed that the module was working to revive militancy in the district. After Ahmad’s arrest, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant identified as Rameez Ahmed Wani of Tandeare, Dachan, was also arrested. 

“The interrogation of Rameez revealed that a major OGW network was attempting to conduct fresh recruitment besides arranging and procuring arms and ammunition for new recruits,” a police official said.

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