Militants use abductions as 'terror weapon' in J&K
4 January 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Kidnappings is being used by militants outfits in Jammu and Kashmir for ransom and to settle scores. There has been a record number of 4589 abductions between January 1990 to December 2002 in the trouble- torn state, a senior police official told PTI here today. Of the total 4589 abductions, highest number of 66 took place in 1996 followed by 548 in 1995 and 448 in 1997, the official said. The officials attribute the kidnappings to a state of desperation among militants to create terror among local populace, who failed to pay money to different outfits for their operations. 'Those who do not pay to militants are kidnapped and later killed to create terror. They account for almost 70 per cent of kidnapping cases,' the officials said. Muslims in Kashmir Valley and Doda, Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur mountainous districts of Jammu region were being kidnapped by the militants to induct them into their ranks and to lure them to back Pakistan-backed foreign mercenaries in the state, they said. 'We have rescued 1367 local boys and youth from clutches of militants, who were abducted and being taken to Pakistan for arms training,' they said. Eighty per cent of kidnapped people were later killed by most brutal methods, rest 20 per cent have been released after torture, they said. As per breakup, 169 abductions took place in 1990, followed by 290 in 1991, 381 in 1992, 349 in 1993, 368 in 1994, 548 in 1995, 666 in 1996, 448 in 1997, 298 in 1998, 241 in 1999, 286 in 2000, 335 in 2001 and 309 in 2002. The prominent among those killed after their abductions included Vice-Chancellor, Kashmir University, Mashural Haq, General Manager HMT Factory, H L Khera, MLC Mir Mustafa, Human Rights Activist H N Wanchoo and politician Razak Bachroo. While those released after paying huge ransoms included former Director General, J&K Health Services, Allah Baksh and some top bureaucrates and politicians. In 1996, four foreign tourists were abducted by Al-Faran, a front outfit of Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA), for the release of 12 top Afghani and Pakistani militants including Jaish- e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit chief, Masood Azhar. Their whereabouts are not known till date. But in 1992, several militants were released by the J&K Government in exchange, when the militants belonging to JKLF abducted Robiya Sayeed, daughter of J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who was then Union Home Minister in the V P Singh Government.