Terror outfit Al-Badr has taken responsibility for the grenade attacks in Pulwama that injured at least 23 people on Monday, including eight security personnel, media reports said on Tuesday. The outfit, through a video message, has also reportedly threatened more such attacks.
Five days ago, a youth from Kashmir's Shopian district announced his joining of militant ranks in the Al-Badr outfit through social media.
A picture of Aijaz Ahmad Paul brandishing a rifle has gone viral on social media, Kashmir Patriot reported. Paul, who hails from Losedanew village in Imamsahabhas, was a BSc student and missing since 30 May. He is among five people who have joined Al-Badr's ranks in the last three days, reports claim.
According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the Al-Badr is an active terrorist outfit in Jammu and Kashmir, which was proscribed by the Indian government on 1 April, 2002, under the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance 2001, and is also designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in the United States. Al-Badr is reported to possess a cadre strength of approximately 200, including 120 foreign mercenaries.
The outfit was formed in June 1998 with a goal of strengthening the ‘Kashmiri freedom struggle’ and to ‘liberate’ the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and merge it with Pakistan. The outfit advocates that Kashmiris should be given the right of self-determination in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.
Al-Badr traces its origins to 1971 when a group of the same name carried out attacks on Bengalis in erstwhile East Pakistan. The group also operated as part of the Hizb-e-lslami of warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in Afghanistan during the 1980s.
The Al-Badr, which earlier operated under the banner of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, was encouraged by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to operate independently in the year 1998. Indian intelligence sources indicated that a new version of the Al-Badr was formed through the induction of foreign mercenaries serving in several other terrorist outfits in Kashmir.
In 1998 when the outfit was formed, the Al-Badr was led by Lukmaan, a resident of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Bakht Zameen is the present ‘chief commander’, while Arfeen Bhai alias Lukmaan alias Jannisar is reported to be the ‘chief commander’ of Al-Badr in Jammu and Kashmir. Other leaders include ‘launching commander’ Irfan, ‘deputy supreme commander’ Zahid Bhai, ‘publicity chief’ Jasm Bhat, ‘communication in-charge’ Abu Mawai.
Areas of Operation
The outfit is headquartered at Mansehra in Pakistan, and is reported to have a camp office in Muzaffarabad, PoK.
The Al-Badr is also active in the Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Srinagar and Kupwara districts of Kashmir. It also has a presence in the Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu region.
The Al-Badr is has close linkages with the Inter Services Intelligence and Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, according to reports. During the regime of the Taliban militia in Afghanistan, the outfit’s cadres secured weapons and ideological training in many camps across that country.
The Al-Badr is part of the United Jehad Council, a coalition of Pakistan-based militant groups active in Jammu and Kashmir, and is reported to have training camps in the Manshera area of North West Frontier Province in Pakistan, Kotli and Muzaffarabad in PoK.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Jun 05, 2018 13:40:01 IST