January 2002 News

ISI recruiting LeT cadres

10 January 2002
The Daily Excelsior

Srinagar: The ISI is instrumental in recruiting terrorists into Lashker-e-Toiba and training camps for militants are being run in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), according to two arrested terrorists. They also said the morale of LeT cadres had been dampened following arrest of its two terrorists — 16-year-old Murtaza Aquib of Gujjranwala in Pakistan and his Kashmiri self-styled ‘battalion commander’ Mohd Shafi Bhat — were arrested by the army in an operation in Anantnag district of south Kashmir yesterday. The terrorists, who were presented before mediapersons at Khanabal today, said the activities of LeT had been ''badly affected'' and the morale of its cadres was ''low'' since the arrest of its top leadership in Pakistan. ''The crackdown by Pakistani Government on the outfit has dealt a major blow to the activities of the outfit in Kashmir,'' they said. The Pakistani terrorist, stating that he had been ''misled'' into terrorism by the ''false propaganda'' by various elements about the condition of Muslims in Kashmir, said ''the situation in Kashmir is absolutely alright and totally opposite than what is being projected in Pakistan and PoK.'' ''I was told Islam is in danger at the hands of Indian army in Kashmir and I should join the ''Kashmiri struggle’,'' said Aquib, an 8th standard passout from a Madrassa, and added,'' however, I was heartened at noticing a totally different scenario here than what had been presented to me back home,'' . Aquib said he had undergone training at LeT-run ‘Aksa Bin Masood training camp’ in the mountains of PoK capital Muzaffarabad initially for 21 days and subsequently ‘Talwa Dora’ (competency training) for 45 days before infiltrating into India via Mendhar sector in October last year. Bhat, a resident of Bazipora-Ajas area of Sonawari in Baramulla district, said he was approached by two LeT militants and was ''forced'' to join the outfit. ''We were herded to Pakistan and after undergoing three months’ training there, I was asked return to Kashmir,'' said the 24-year-old 12th class dropout. He said he surrendered soon after the army cordoned off Chichapora village as he wanted to live a peaceful life. The militants said they were asked by their mentors in the training camp to keep a ''big target'' in mind always during operations in Kashmir. ''They continuously keep directing the cadres over radio sets to intensify activities here,'' they said.


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