July 2000 News

Laskhar, Al Badar cast shadow over Hizbul ceasefire

25 July 2000
Times of India

Srinagar: With at least nine militant groups rejecting the three-month ceasefire of Hizbul Mujahideen, both state government and the All Parties Hurriyat Conference are doubtful about its success. Abdul Majid Dar, the Hizbul leader, who had announced the ceasefire on Monday, has gone into hiding. The authorities claimed Dar was in the Valley for the last one month and had been frequenting the state earlier too. He had crossed over to Pakistan in 1994. Eight militant groups have called it ''a betrayal'' by Dar and declared that ''the Jehad (holy war) would continue''. They asked the Hizbul cadre to reject the ceasefire call given by Dar. The militant groups who have opposed the ceasefire call are Tahrekul Mujahideen, Jamaetul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen, Hizbul Mommin, Al Badar, Laskhar-e-Toiba, Al Umar and Al Jehad. A women''s militant group - Dukhtarane Millat - too has rejected the ceasefire call. The Jaish Mohammad group of Maulana Azahar is yet to announce its stand. The Jehad council (controlling organisation) of the militant groups is yet to give final approval of the ceasefire. The council would be meeting in Muzaffarabad (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) on Tuesday evening where its supreme commander, Syed Sallahuddin, would be consulting commanders of other groups, according to the separatist leaders. According to the security agencies, success of the ceasefire call would depend on the response of other militant groups, Hizbul Mujahideen cadre and Pakistan. The response of the entire cadre, which is spread in villages all over the state, would be keenly watched. The security agencies engaged in counter-insurgency operations are ''taking no chances'' and the officers claimed that the ''existing arrangements would continue''. There has been no withdrawal of troops from any bunker or pickets throughout the Valley. The checking and frisking of vehicles and people was being done as usual. In Srinagar town, no untoward incident was reported. The core group of the unified headquarters (apex organisations of the army and security agencies engaged in counter-insurgency operations) met here under the chairmanship of the chief secretary Ashok Jaitly and reviewed the situation. The chief minister Farooq Abdullah had left for New Delhi on Tuesday morning. The minister of state for home Mushtaq Ahmad Lone said the ceasefire call was ''a positive development and a major achievement ... it is premature to send the forces back to barracks. There is a desire for peace among the people''. He hoped that ''better sense would prevail on other militant groups also.'' According to him, in the first six months, over 700 militants had been killed in the Valley.

 

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