Uri attack was the worst in 26 years: Has India ignored the growing threat of Jaish-e-Mohammad?

Soon after the deadly attack on Sunday at one of the Army bases in north Kashmir’s Uri town, Indian intelligence agencies said that Jaish-e-Mohammad militants were behind the attack.

“All four killed were foreign terrorists and had carried with them items which had Pakistani markings. Initial reports indicate that the slain terrorists belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad tanzeem (outfit),” Lieutenant-General Ranbir Singh said, while briefing the media after the attack.

Based on all the evidences, the Army confirmed that Jaish militants carried out the 18 September attacks.

File image of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar. Reuters

File image of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar. Reuters

Since its inception in 2000, the signature of the Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit was attacks on Army bases at Mohra and Tangdhar in north Kashmir, at Kathua and Samba in Jammu region, and at Pathankot airbase in Punjab, as Sameer Yasir points out in this Firstpost article.

After a debilitating period of being infiltrated by Kashmiri police, "the outfit has fast replaced Lashkar-e-Taiba in launching suicide missions on military and other security formations in the state," Yasir pointed out.

Even though there was enough evidence of the outfit's rising popularity and overt threats, it looks like India failed to keep a track of its activities.

The group claimed that it will use violence to force the withdrawal of Indian security forces in Kashmir. After the 2001 attack on the Parliament, the US State Department added it to its foreign terrorist organisation list. India seems to have ignored the cognisance of the group's gradual rise.

Despite efforts, the Indian authorities have not managed to tighten the strings of JeM's activities in India. It continues to grow and create havoc in the country, possibly with the help of Pakistan's ISI.

In 2016, the group carried out the daring attack on the Pathankot airbase. The Indian police even arrested 12 JeM operatives for their involvement in the attack. Offices of the JeM in Bahwalnagar, Bahawalpur, Multan and Muzafargarh were also identified and sealed in January 2016.

Although the Pakistani government too tried to crack down the outfit's militants (or projected to), it operates almost without any constraints in the country now.

Pakistan conducted raids in Gujranwala and Jhelum regions, and questioned the family of one of the Jaish leaders following the Pathankot attack.

The Hindu reported that Pakistan even announced the arrest of several JeM members. Chief Maulana Masood Azhar and his brother Abdul Rehman Rauf were also detained. "Based on the initial investigations in Pakistan, and the information provided, several individuals belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad, have been apprehended," the office of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was quoted as saying in The Hindu report.

Soon after, ANI reported that the mosque-cum-seminary run by JeM was sealed and the Counter-Terrorism-Department arrested 14 people from Mundeyki Goraya village. The Dawn also reported that the police raided and sealed Jamia Masjid and Madressah Al-Noor.

According to PTI, Pakistani authorities also raided and sealed religious seminary operated by JeM. The madrassa was sealed after a thorough search, reported DNA.

In February, the Jammu and Kashmir police busted a module of JeM and three militants were arrested, The International Business Times reported. Mohammad Sadiq Gujjar, a JeM terrorist, who carried out an attack in Kupwara was arrested by security forces towards the end of February.

In May, 2016 the Army arrested a terrorist belonging to JeM in the Baramulla district of Kashmir, The Hindu reported. Abdul Rehman, a resident of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), had infiltrated in January and was engaged in recruiting local youth for “suicide” attacks, the Army said.

In July, according to reports, the outfit was seeking funds outside mosques in Karachi to send jihadists to fight in India and Afghanistan.

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, JeM released a video issuing threat against mainstream politicians and Kashmiri 'informers' working for security forces in the Valley on 9 September.

And just days later, it carries out the Uri attack. The JeM has had an adventurous year with arrests and some major attacks. The speedy rise of the outfit becomes a matter of concern for India.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Sep 21, 2016 15:50 PM

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