In J&K, LeT Has Been Shifting Base And Changing Strategy

In J&K, LeT Has Been Shifting Base And Changing Strategy

4 April 2012
DNA
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government is assessing the impact of the US announcing a $10 million bounty on Lashkar-e-Tioba (LeT) chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, on the situation in the restive state. The decision has come at a time when LeT has changed its strategy and shifted control and command structure to Rawalpindi and the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), in a bid to directly control and guide the ultras operating in J&K. “We will assess the situation and see what impact it would have (on Kashmir)…and accordingly try to find out (what it augers for the state),” Nasir Aslam Wani, J&K minister of state for home, told DNA. The US decision could not have come at a worse time for the separatists who have received major setbacks on the international front in the last week.First, the Kashmir separatist leader and alleged ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai was jailed for two years by a US court, followed by the moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was accused of being ‘supported and controlled by ISI of Pakistan’. What has brought cheer to the security honchos, is the US decision of putting Hafiz in the same bracket as global terrorists like Mullah Umar. “There are hundreds of FIRs registered against LeT across J&K. Since every attack by LeT was at the behest of Hafiz, therefore, he is directly accused and linked to every incident in J&K,” said a police officer. In the last few years, security forces have gone the whole hog against LeT. Scores of the militants have been killed and their top cream eliminated by the forces in Kashmir in the last one year.The latest encounter came on March 28 when security forces neutralised five LeTmilitants in a fierce encounter in north Kashmir. “Mostly, the commanders based in Pakistan use latest technology like SKPE and VOIP to communicate with their men in J&K. Everything is being guided from across the LoC and the foot soldiers just go by their commands,” said a police officer. The officer added that LeT is now hesitant to designate their commanders by ranks because, once they nominate the chief or deputy, security forces go after them. “To avoid further losses they are not designating the commander though some of them in the flock are locally called ameer,” said a police officer. Last year, entire cream of LeT was wiped out by the army when five top commanders of LeT and Jaish-e-Mohommad - Saqib alias Sohail of Kasur in Pakistan, divisional commander of LeT for north Kashmir, Hamad alias Haneef alias Alfa Islam, divisional commander for Kupwara, hailing from Abbottabad in Pakistan - were killed in a fierce gun-battle in Lolaab valley. Their top ranking commander Abdullah Uni was also killed in Sopore.