Jaish-e-Mohammad orchestrated militant attacks in Kashmir: Army fears Masood Azhar's organisation is regrouping

On Tuesday evening, militants carried out five attacks in three hours leaving 12 soldiers injured in what seems to be well-coordinated attacks in both south and north Kashmir. The attacks followed one after the other, leaving security forces with minimal time to react, in what was described by security forces as "throw and runaway attacks."

While many quarters were pointing fingers at the neighbour, the director general of Jammu and Kashmir dispelled rumours and reportedly said that militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad is behind the series of the attacks in the Valley, which injured 12 security personnel and four rifles were snatched from the policemen.

"According to our intelligence reports, Jaish-e-Mohammad is responsible for series of attacks on police and paramilitary personnel in south Kashmir on Tuesday," DGP S P Vaid said on Wedsnesday. "Although Hizbul Mujahedeen has larger presence in south Kashmir but the attacks were the handiwork of Jaish-e-Mohammad," he added.

A file image of army personnel in Kashmir's Nagrota. PTI

A file image of army personnel in Kashmir's Nagrota. PTI

If JeM is behind these attacks then it is clear indication that the dreaded militant outfit has been regrouping in the past months in the Valley. Until last year, security agencies had reported presence of less then 10 active JeM militants in Kashmir. Security personnel had also said that majority of these militants were killed in different encounters. Unlike insurgent from other groups, JeM militants have hardly survived for a long time in Kashmir.

Jaish was once considered to be the a group which could be easily infiltrated and that led to its decline in Kashmir. By mid-2013, the group was on the verge of extinction when two of its last three surviving commanders were killed, leaving the outfit with a total cadre capacity of eight militants in Kashmir, the lowest since it was formed 14 years ago, Jammu and Kashmir police told Firstpost.

A senior intelligence officer, during a recent conversation with Firstpost, had said that there were reports that Jaish was trying to rebuild its cadre base in Kashmir but had little success, till last year. "We have observed that Kashmiris don't like to be associated with foreign terrorists and particularly this outfit. They don't hate them but they don't love them also for various reasons," an Army official told Firstpost recently.

Recently, however, the claims of JeM's regrouping were further boosted by Al-Umar Mujahideen chief Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar, who was released along with JeM chief Masood Azhar in exchange of Indian Airlines passengers in 1999, told local reporters that the series attacks both were carried out jointly by Al-Umar and JeM.


Pakistan national recruiting for Jaish in Kashmir?

On Wednesday a senior police officer based in south Kashmir, told Firstpost that Abu Hamas, a Pakistani national, who is among the 12 most wanted militants in Kashmir, has been actively recruiting for the group for the last few months.

In September 2016, the army had blamed JeM militants for carrying out an attack on one of its bases in Uri which left 19 soldiers dead. JeM has also carried out many suicide attacks in Army installations near the Line Of Control for the past few years. In fact, this is the outfit that introduced the concept of the suicide bombing in Kashmir when it carried out its first suicide attack in April 2000.

But if Tuesday's "throw and runaway attacks" were carried out by the outfit, this could well be the change of strategy for them in Kashmir.

JeM was founded by Maulana Masood Azhar, a fiery orator, in January 2000 after his release in Taliban-governed Kandahar, Afghanistan, from Jammu's Kot Balwal jail in exchange for passengers of hijacked IC-814 Indian Airlines plane. Azhar was arrested in Srinagar in 1994 on charges of terrorism.

Since then, JeM's signature was found in many attacks on army bases at Mohra and Tangdhar in north Kashmir, at Kathua and Samba in Jammu region, and at Pathankot airbase in Punjab. Following Tuesday's attacks, the Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar on Wednesday said that the CRPF camps in Jammu and Kashmir have been put on a state of high alert.

"The morale of our contingent is very high and they are trying to maintain law and order with their professional competence," he said.

Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017 15:31 PM

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