Rift In Hizbul over Salahuddin’s decision
7 May 2002
Jammu: In a significant development in Kashmir, the field commanders of the Valley’s largest militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen have refused to accept the decision of the United Jihad Council and the outfit “supreme commander”, Syed Salahudddin, to expel three top former commanders — Abdul Majid Dar, Zafar Abdul Fateh and Asad Yazdani — from the outfit. They were recently ousted from the outfit “for violating group’s policies and for their defiant attitude”. In an interview with CNS here this afternoon from a Srinagar city hideout, two top commanders — Abu Amir and Asgar Ibn-e- Rehman — openly defied Salahuddin’s orders. “Hizb is no individual’s or a commander’s property. It’s the representative outfit of the Kashmiri people and those who sacrificed their lives for the organisation and for the movement. Those sitting across the border are not only oblivious of the situation here but also they have no right to take such decisions,” they said. They said Salahuddin had taken the decision without taking the field commanders in the Valley into confidence, while indicating at the huge support base of Majeed Dar and other commanders. “They don’t know the ground situation in Kashmir. Salahuddin has been breathing in open air in Muzaffarabad and thus has been issuing such orders. We do resp-ect him, but he refuses to understand the situation,” Asgar said. All the three expelled commanders had played significant role in the July 2000 ceasefire in the Valley. New Delhi had reciprocated the Hizbul peace call by ordering troops not to target the outfit’s militants. But, the ceasefire was withdrawn by the Pakistan-based group’s top leadership following Delhi’s refusal to involve Islamabad in talks, and thus bringing the difference between its Pakistan-based “supreme commander” Salahuddin and and the Valley-based “chief commander operations” Majeed Dar to the fore. Considered to be moderate face, Dar had said that any positive outcome between India and Pakistan would help the group in shunning the path of violence. He, , who was the operational chief of Hizbul in Kashmir, was replaced by Saiful Islam in October last year. Yazdani and Fateh were were also relieved of their responsibilities along with Dar. Earlier, in a statement, the right-hand man of Majid Dar, Zafar Abdul Fateh, said that the outfit is not a fiefdom of any individual or a commander. He said: “Those sitting across the border are not the real and genuine representatives of the group as they are unaware of the situation here. Therefore, the decision would be taken by those engaged in the struggle for several years who have been sharing travails and tribulations of the people.” Besides that, he had also said the expelled commanders are going to float their own group next week. The details of which are being worked out and will soon be announced. Mircha killing: For the first time since the mysterious disappearance of Hizbul Mujahideen district commander Farooq Mircha — part of the four Hizbul commanders appeared before the media for the Centre- Hizbul Mujahideen talks in August 2000 — the field commanders of the Hizbul today alleged that he was killed by the outfit’s men owing allegiance to its Pakistan-based ‘supreme leader’ Syed Salahuddin. Abu Amir, Hizbul leader, said he had solid evidence into the killing of Mircha on the instruction of Hizbul chief. Mircha diappeared mysteriously from Pattan in north Kashmir in August 2001.