Irshad Ganaie Of Lashkar Has Emerged As Poster Boy For Militancy

24 August 2014
Rising Kashmir
Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: Irshad Ganaie, commander of a three-member Lashkar-e-Toiba group, has emerged as the most wanted man for police and security agencies in Kashmir. Sporting a cropped beard, 25-year-old Ganaie is believed to have planned and executed major attacks carried out by the militants in recent days in the valley. The attacks have left such a profound impact on Kashmir's security apparatus that police has now announced one million rupees bounty on Ganaie's head. Ganaie along with two of his other associates- Dujana bhai and Showket Lone - are giving sleepless nights to police since they are the main accused in carrying out recent attacks in south Kashmir's Pulwama district and in the outskirts of Srinagar. 'This trio is responsible for all the recent attacks in south Kashmir,' a top police officer told Rising Kashmir. 'But the mastermind behind the attacks is Ganaie. He is planning the daring attacks.' The officer says the modus operandi adopted by Ganaie is not known fully, 'but he has been randomly choosing his targets'. Police says Ganaie came into prominence last summer when he along with his associates launched a Fidayeen attack at army at Hyderpora. The attack left eight army men dead while 19 others sustained injuries. 'He is also the main accused in Kadlabal Pampore attack which left nine BSF men injured in Galander attack which led to the killing of two cops and a civilian, attack on a BSF vehicle at Koil Pulwama which caused death of two paramilitary men while two others were injured.' The police also suspect involvement of Ganaie's team in the killing of a railway policeman at Malangpora in Pulwama district during which they also decamped with a rifle. A total of six persons including five troopers were killed while 14 others had been injured in South Kashmir militant attacks. Terming him a 'ruthless fighter', the police officer says so far Ganaie has remained untraced and massive searches are being carried out to nab him. Hailing from Padangam village in Larkipora Awantipora, Ganaie had cleared his 12th grade examinations. Later he got enrolled in nursing course before leaving it midway to become a Lashkar operative. 'He was arrested somewhere in 2010 since he worked as over ground worker for militant groups,' a plain clothed police officer says. 'He got recycled and joined active fighting again three years ago. He has emerged a poster boy for militancy in South Kashmir'. Ganaie has been reported killed in several encounters, but was later found to be alive. Last time he gave slip to police and army on May 13, 2014 in Kounsar Mulla area of Chadoora, Badgam. The brief encounter left one army trooper dead. The police say Ganaie and his other Kashmiri associate never visited Pakistan, but got their arms training in Kashmir, adding, he has been training other local recruits as well. 'He has recruited four locals in the LeT. Plus he is passing on his tactical skills to his associates. It is disturbing,' police officer says. 'He has become a major headache for us'. The police has led various raids in Awantipora and other areas to nab the group especially Ganaie, but to no avail. 'There is a significant amount of pressure to arrest him from higher-ups, he is yet to be traced,' police official added. In a bid to pressurize the militant, the police have called relatives and parents of Ganaie for questioning; some have been taken into preventive detention.