GenNext Militants New Face Of Terror In Valley

GenNext Militants New Face Of Terror In Valley

29 May 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Srinagar: A complete new generation of local militants, many of them well-educated and armed with professional degrees, are leading the fight against security forces in the Valley. Saifullah Ahangar (20), who was killed in a fierce encounter on May 24 in Pulwama, had a diploma in civil engineering. His father Rafiq Ahmad Ahangar is a retired junior assistant in the state agriculture department. In recent months, militants have carried out several strategic attacks, including ambushes, suggesting that they have augmented their capacity and manpower. On March 24, Saifullah left his home at Ari-Parigaam village of Pulwama district without informing anyone. Two months later, the family came to know about his death in a fierce gunfight with Army’s special counter-insurgency force Rashtriya Rifles. Saifullah and his associates, who were believed to be three to four in number, killed four soldiers. When the details of the encounter began to emerge on May 24 morning, it was initially believed that 21-year-old militant, Burhan-ud-din, has been killed. Son of school principal, Burhan is another new generation militant, who left his south Kashmir home in 2011 and picked up arms when he was still a teenager. A senior police official in the area said they were still ascertaining whether Burhan was part of the group which ambushed the soldiers. Another name in the list of these new-generation militants is south Kashmir’s Masiullah Khan, who had a degree in mechanical engineering. Khan was in early 20s when he was killed in a gunfight in 2011. Sajad Yousuf, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant from Pulwama district, is in his mid-20s and has a post-graduate degree in Islamic Studies, a police official said. Omar Ahsan (22), who was killed in Sopore in December 2012, had secured admission in a postgraduate course in Physics when he became a militant. Lashkar-e-Toiba commanders Muzumil Amin, killed in October 2012, and Hilal Ahmad Rather, killed on May 23 this year, were in their mid or late twenties. Hilal (28) was a resident of north Kashmir’s Palhalan village. He was a Mufti - a scholar of Islamic law - from the famed Deoband seminary of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh and was planning to get enrolled in postgraduate course in Islamic Studies, his uncle Mushtaq Ahmad told The Tribune. An official, who is associated with the counter-insurgency force of the state police, said most of the new militants are primarily motivated by religion. “They are not secular militants. They have become terrorists and primarily it is due to Islamic radicalisation,” the official said. The official, who keeps a constant tab on the emerging militant scenario in the region, said local militants are a more potent threat to state’s security apparatus. “A local militant knows the topography, he knows the people and he can operate on his own, while as a foreign militant has to rely on local support,” the officer said. [With inputs from Suhail A Shah in Pulwama] Burhan-ud-din (21) is the son of a school principal. He left his south Kashmir home in 2011 and picked up arms when he was a teenager Saifullah Ahangar (20) was killed in a gunfight on May 24 in Pulwama. He had a diploma in civil engineering