|J A M M U C
& CK A S H M I R
Sunday, August 8, 1999
Harkat, Hizbul unity
transferred on EC's direction
Harkat, Hizbul unity worries
JAMMU, Aug 7 The way the two militant outfits, the Harkat-ul-Ansar and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen have joined hands has caused concern among senior functionaries of the state government and the Defence Ministry. Hitherto the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and the Harkat-ul-Ansar used to operate separately and activists of these two outfits, having ego problems, were involved in inter-group gun battles in the past.
What has alarmed the security camps is the way the activists of the Harkat-ul-Ansar and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen have carried out a series of operations against the security forces not only in different parts of the Kashmir valley but in the Poonch, Rajouri and Doda areas of the Jammu region in the past three months.
Informed sources said the attack on an Army post in the Kupwara sector on Thursday night, in which five Armymen, including a Captain, were killed and 10 others wounded, was the example of the effectiveness of the joint operations being carried out by the two militant organisations.
At one stage the Harkat-ul-Ansar used to be a foreign mercenary-dominated outfit while the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen had majority of local activists as its ace shooters. The rivalry between foreign mercenaries and the local militants had its manifestation in the tussle between the Harkat and the Hizb activists which led to the elimination of a large number of the activists of the two outfits by the security forces.
The sources said two developments had brought about unity between the two outfits. With the rise of armed conflict in Kargil the Pakistani agencies wanted these two main militant outfits to forge unity and carry out joint operations which could inflict heavy casualty on the Indian security forces.
Second, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen had experienced the thinning of the number of its local activists after Kashmiri youths either surrendered or were eliminated by the security forces. In the past eight months or so Pak agencies pushed into Jammu and Kashmir large groups of foreign mercenaries and a majority of them had been directed to work under the umbrella of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. And when the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen also turned into a foreign mercenary-dominated organisation there was no ego problem between the activists of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and the Harkat-ul-Ansar.
Pakistani intelligence agencies had received reports that rivalry between the leaders of the Harkat and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen had resulted in a piquant situation in which the activists of one outfit would give information about the hideouts of the rival group to the security forces which led to elimination of a number of top men of the two groups in Kupwara, Anantnag, Srinagar, Budgam, Poonch and Rajouri.
When militancy took roots in the Kashmir valley in 1988 the number of militant outfits was not more than five. The number swelled to 150 at one stage. This led to confusion among the insurgents when some of the outfits indulged in extortion and other un-Islamic activities. The Pakistani agencies gradually stopped sending funds and weapons to those outfits which had earned a bad name in Kashmir. And within a span of four years, from 1992 and 1996, the number of militant outfits came down to 10. At present there are only four militant outfits in the state which include the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the Harkat-ul-Ansar and the Lashkr-i-Toiba.
Reports said senior
security experts from the Defence Ministry, Union Home
Ministry and the state police were planning to
restructure the entire plan regarding the establishment
of security pickets, posts and deployment of the forces.
3 DCs transferred on EC's
SRINAGAR, Aug 7 Complying with the directives of the Election Commission of India, Jammu and Kashmir Government has ordered transfers and postings of three District Development Commissioners, of whom two officers had been posted only recently after the election schedule was announced.
These include the Deputy Commissioners of Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar, Mr Mohammad Aslam Qureshi, Director Estates has been transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, while Mr Kachoo Isfandyar Khan, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar had been posted as Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar. Sheikh Mohammad Hussain has been posted as Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla in place of Mohammad Gulzar replacing Sheikh Hussain as the Director, Food and Supplies. Mr Mohammad Ismail Kirmani has been transferred from Anantnag and posted as Director Estates in place of Mr Mohammad Aslam Qureshi.
The state government also awaits approval in case of the transfers of DIG of Baramulla-Kupwara range and SP Kupwara. Though the names of some of the senior police officers have been sent to the Election Commission, the orders are expected to be issued shortly.
While Mr Isfandyar Khan has been appointed Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, his predecessor, Ms Tanveen Jehan has been directed to report to the General Administration Department for further posting.
The Election Commission of India had issued the directives to the state government in response to the complaints received from some opposition political parties including that of the Peoples Democratic Party of the former Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. The complaints said that these transfers of two Deputy Commissioners of Anantnag and Baramulla were made on the eve of elections and these officers were not competent enough to act as the electoral officers of the IAS cadre. In case of the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, it was stated that Ms Tanveer Jehan was a local officer and under the rules would not have to function as the electoral officer. In case of the DIG Kupwara-Baramulla range and SP Kupwara it was stated that the two police officers had been reinstated recently after their suspension from service.
More mercenaries involved
SRINAGAR, Aug 7 There has been a spurt in violence in Jammu and Kashmir in the past one week in which 100 persons, most of them foreign militants, have been killed. Militants have unnerved the security forces by storming an Army camp in Kupwara district yesterday, an incident first of its kind in the decade-long militancy in Kashmir.
This stepped-up violence is being regarded as part of the plan by separatist agencies to foment trouble in Kashmir on the eve of the coming Independence Day celebrations and the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
Mr Gurbachan Jagat, Director-General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, believes because of the defeat faced by such elements in Kargil, they now want to show their presence.
At least 24 foreign militants have been killed in different encounters across the valley during the past week. These include six militants at Tootmari Gali near the LoC in Kupwara district, five militants near Chokibal, six militants at the Army camp in Chak Nutnus and seven in Rafiabad area of Baramulla district.
Six militants were killed by the security forces in Bandipore area of Baramulla last week. Three were killed in another encounter in Kupwara district on Thursday and four militants were killed in Achhabal area of Anantnag district.
"This year more foreign elements are involved ..... more inclined to risk their lives", says Maj-Gen R.K. Kaushal of the Victor Force of the Rashtriya Rifles engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the valley.
Major attacks have been carried out by mercenaries.
The Army does not rule out the recurrence of incidents like the one at Chak Nutnus and the attack on a Colonel today.
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