Lashkar, JUM Receive Orders To Play Havoc In Kashmir
14 September 2000
The Daily Excelsior
B L Kak
New Delhi: The Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jamait-ul-Mujahideen (JUM) have received orders to play havoc in Jammu and Kashmir ''immediately and continuously''. These orders, conveyed on wireless sets on September 11 and repeated late evening on September 13, have highlighted the ''need for massive attacks'' on Indian Army and Border Security Force (BSF). If radio intercepts are any guide, coming days are going to be highly crucial in parts of the Kashmir valley and Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu region. ''Hum nay aap kay liye achhay-khaasay iqdaam amal mein laye hain. Ab aap logoon kaa faraz banta hai ki aap fidayeen aur bombs kaa istimaal karein (We have for you taken effective steps. Now, it becomes your responsibility to make use of suicide squads and bombs)'', one of the intercepted messages said. Another message advocated: ''Bombs, IEDs aur grenades sirif Bharati fauj aur unkay thikanoon ko tabah karaey kay liye istimaal karo (Make use of bombs, IEDs and grenades to destroy only Indian troops and their camps)''. This message, sources said, was transmitted from across the Line of Control (LoC) on September 11. The development was, swiftly, followed by the militants'' attack on an Army camp at Beerwah, 20 km from Srinagar, on September 12, killing six defence personnel, including a Major. It was the second major strike after July 31, when 6 soldiers were killed and seven wounded in the wake of foreign mercenaries'' attack on an Army installation at Sunderbani-Bandipora in north Kashmir. The operations against the Indian Army at Beerwah and at Sunderbani-Bandipora were carried out jointly by Pakistan-sponsored Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jamait-ul-Mujahideen (JUM). And the message from LeT and JUM was that they would target the Indian Army and paramilitary forces as part of their jihad. The fidayeen (suicide squad) attacks began on November 3, 1999, when the Army''s cantonment in Badami Bagh( Srinagar) was attacked by two members of a suicide squad. The attack resulted in the death of eight officials, including the PRO, Major Purshottam. The fidayeen also attacked BSF camps at Bandipora and Chanpora and Special Operation Group (SOG) of J&K Police at Haftchinar in Srinagar early this year. Nearly 40 security personnel and a dozen fidayeen were killed in these attacks. By the time hit-and-run exercise was carried out at Beerwah, a field intelligence unit (FIU) of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had gathered highly classified inputs, which pointed out a change in the strategy of the Pakistani ISI. In other words, the ISI had, in the altered situation, chosen to adopt a twin strategy: Targeting the Indian Army and their establishments and installations in J&K. Second, terrorizing and tiring out Indian troops deployed in Kashmir. At a time when the Home Minister and the Defence Minister appeared too pre-occupied with the demand for President''s rule in West Bengal, the President, Mr KR Narayanan, summoned Mr LK Advani to Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday for discussion on the law and order situation in various parts of the country, particularly Jammu and Kashmir. The discussion mainly centred around the controversy triggered by supporters and opponents of the demand for President''s rule in West Bengal. But, at the same time, the President, sources said, had a few queries with regard to the stepped-up activity of Pakistan-aided ultras in J&K. President''s queries, according to sources, assume significance in the context of his reference to the need to step up intelligence operations in J&K. After all, attacks on the Indian Army camps and similar enclosures cannot be carried out without the terrorist outfits-in this case, the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jamait-ul-Mujahideen-gaining knowledge of logistics and other details. The Home Minister reportedly informed the President that while the Lashkar and JUM have their bases across the LoC, the volume of ''hard evidence'' showing the involvement of Pakistan in training and arming these outfits is substantive enough.