Al-Jehad warns against participation in polls
24 March 2002
The Times of India
SRINAGAR: Pro-Pakistani outfit al-jehad has resurfaced in Kashmir Valley warning people not to take part in Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir amid reports of merger of various terrorist groups.The outfit, in a statement published by some local Urdu dailies, on Sunday said, ''We have not rendered sacrifices for power, but our struggle is based on the goal of freedom.'' Without naming anybody, the statement warned secessionist leaders engaged in making ways to participate in the Assembly elections to keep away or get ready for the consequences.Al-jehad, founded by Sheikh Abdul Aziz, is the second militant outfit which warned Hurriyat leaders not to participate in the Assembly polls.Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir Islami Front (JKIF) warned Hurriyat leadeship of serious consequences if they participate in elections, while another militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen asked the state government employees to stay away from the poll process.''If any Hurriyat leader including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Democratic Freedom party leader Shabir Ahmad Shah are found involved in any (election) activity, it would attract serious consequences,'' JKIF had said.Al-jehad was one of the front-ranking militant outfits in the Valley in early 90s and disappeared after the arrest and killing of its leadership and hundreds of cadres.Al- jehad''s leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz, who later joined Hurriyat and became its executive member, is presently undergoing detention under public safety act after arrest last year. Al-jehad''s statement came at a time when reports of local outfits staging a comeback have started pouring in from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where almost all militant outfits including those completely wiped out by the security forces are based.Efforts to re-introduce totally localised militancy are at the final stage on the other side of Line of Control, a leading English daily said quoting a local news agency.While Lashker- e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad have been advised to work at tandem with the local outfits, the numbers of apparently Kashmiri outfits is being reduced to a bare minimum, the agency quoting reliable information said.According to the details made available by the agency, the paper said quite a few outfits would remain active in the coming days as all the smaller outfits have been directed to merge into them.It will be Hizbul Mujahideen, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, Tehreek- ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-e-Jehad-e-Islami, al-Umar Mujahideen, Tehreek-e- Jehad, Islamic Front and Kashmir Resistance Force trying to dominate the militancy in the state in the near future, the reports said.The ''al-khalid'', a stray group of Hizbul Mujahideen, has merged into HuM after three years of independent existence; another group al- Badr Mujahideen has joined Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, Hijb-e-Islami has been directed to join the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen outfit, the report said. Negotiations for merger between Tehreek-e-jehad-e-islami and al- baraq are stated to be in the final stages and they are merging under a new name, the reports said.Similarly the stray group of tehreek-e- jehad that was operating under a PoK militant commander Ishfaq Balwal under code name ''third brigade'' has returned to the mother outfit. While Karvan-e-jehad has been directed to merge into al-umar mujahideen, lashker-e-islami has been asked to merge into Islamic Front, the news agency said in the report.The reports said all the militant outfits floated by various factions of the Peoples'' League have managed to forge a single outfit called Kashmir Resistance Force (KRF).The KRF will draw its cadres from the erstwhile outfits of al- jehad, Hizbullah, Muslim Janbaaz Force and al-fateh. Since all these outfits, floated by various factions of the league, have strong Kashmiri identity, the aim of the exercise is to get back militancy to the locals in order to whitewash the allegations that Pakistani outfits are running the show in the name of Kashmir, the reports said.LeT and JeM, the two Pakistani outfits having the sizable non- Kashmiri membership have been asked to work with local outfits, the reports said, adding the the two are already in trouble because of financial probelems after the Pakistan launched a crackdown against the jehadi cult after the September 11 and December 13 attacks in the US and India respectively.