Saturday, September 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ultras told to focus on politicians
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
Militant outfits operating in Jammu and Kashmir are being categorically told by their masters across the Line of Control to stop attacking military and security installations for the time being and “focus” only on politicians.

Pakistani agencies have promised Rs 1 lakh for killing a political activist and Rs 10 lakh for killing an MLA, recent wireless intercepts show. Of late, there has been a spurt in such wireless intercepts which demonstrate the desperation levels of Islamabad for derailing the J&K poll.

In another significant shift in its strategy, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has directed its major outfits, like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, to not own responsibility for any terrorist act and, instead, put it on an organisation nobody has heard of. That explains why a plethora of new terrorist outfits are mushrooming and with every political killing, a new outfit emerged while actually the political killings were being perpetrated by the LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen (Pakistan).

On September 9, in one such intercept, Syed Salahudin, leader of the Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen, announced to his cadres in J&K a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for each contestant killed. The intercept also records Salahuddin’s exhortations to his commanders to ensure that at least one candidate from each constituency is killed.

The same day, Islamic Front chief Bilal Ahmed Beig and its amir (base camp) S. Hussain Bukhari issued a press note asking Kashmiris to remain united and claimed that actions were being taken against participants in the election process.

A total of 215 persons have been killed in as many as 405 incidents in Jammu and Kashmir between August 1 this year and September 11, thus making a mockery of US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s assurance to India that it was pressuring Pakistan not to interfere with elections.

Pakistan-based militant outfits continue to wreak mayhem in J&K, mainly to scuttle the September-October elections as is evident by the fact that 27 political activists and leaders have been killed in 57 election-related incidents in J&K in the above-mentioned period.



More high-profile killings in J&K likely
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 13
Jammu and Kashmir could witness more high profile killings in the coming days as part of the Pakistan-backed terrorist groups strategy to disrupt the forthcoming Legislative Assembly elections in the state.

While Congress President Sonia Gandhi has become the first casualty of the spurt in the terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir as her election tour to the state was cancelled, security agencies here are likely to advise the other central leaders of various political parties to steer clear of such tours to the region.

Intelligence reports suggest that the killing of Jammu and Kashmir Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmed Lone in Kupwara is not the last of the high profile killings that could hit the state. More senior politicians and leaders either participating in the elections or on election tours could be targeted as part of the plan to disrupt the election process.

Intelligence intercepts available with the security forces clearly reflect the mood of the terrorist groups that the elections in the state should be disrupted at any cost. The killings of such high profile politicians is one of the ways by which the terrorists hope to bring the election process to a halt.

The terrorists have been asked to target the politicians of Jammu and Kashmir or those from the Centre during the election rallies as such occasions provide easy and close access. On such occasions even the security personnel providing cover to the politicians are forced to stay clear of them which provides the terrorists with an opportunity.

There are clear instructions from across the border that all efforts should be made to disrupt the polls as a disruption in the democratic process would be of advantage to Pakistan. Terrorists holed up in Jammu and Kashmir have been informed by their ISI handlers that if the elections in the state are successful, India’s claim on it would become stronger and it would be a setback to the ‘freedom struggle’.

A radio conversation between the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen cadres intercepted by the intelligence agencies says, “If the forthcoming elections in J&K turned unsuccessful, the entire world would then force India to hold talks (with Pakistan) on Kashmir which may result in India losing Kashmir”.


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