Police: Militant Outfit JuD May Resurface With New Name

23 January 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Srinagar: While the banning of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed's Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) is being viewed as a paradigm shift in Pakistan's policy, security officials in Kashmir are keeping their fingers crossed over the development. The Lashkar-e-Toiba, considered as the sister organisation of the JuD, has been operating in J&K for over a decade and was blamed for masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attack. Hafiz Saeed, India's most-wanted militant, has been publicly distancing himself from Lashkar activities. 'The JuD may be banned, but it can always resurface with a new name,' said a senior police officer, keeping an eye on insurgency in Kashmir. 'The group, which has been banned, is close to the Pakistani establishment for ideological reasons and, therefore, Pakistan may not be able to clamp down on the group's activities,' he said. The officer said Pakistan had banned the Lashkar in 2002, but the group continued its activities and renamed itself as the JuD. The officer said the Lashkar was the largest militant group, operating in Kashmir for the last eight years. The strength of the outfit in Kashmir, he said, was 50 to 55 and most of them were foreigners. The outfit has carried out many deadly attacks and is known for introducing the Fidayeen attack in Kashmir. Defence officials, however, expect that the Pakistan move to ban Saeed's JuD looked serious. 'However, its (Pakistan's) sincerity will be determined if it acts against men whom it has always shielded and also by stopping sending militants to Kashmir,' a defence official in Srinagar said. The official said they had apprehensions that Pakistani security agencies may have set up a new militant group under a new name. Noted academician Sheikh Showkat said: 'The ban should be seen in the context of the Obama visit to India. This step will ease pressure on Pakistan. It will argue that it has been acting tough against groups involved in violence.'