Back from Pakistan, slain militants were busy in networking
SRINAGAR: The killing of Hizbul Mujahideen two Hizbul Mujahideen militants last week has thwarted a major work plan of the outfit that was struggling to gain a firm footing in north Kashmir areas, sources told Kashmir Reader.
Sajad Lone alias Babar and Azhar Khan aka Ghazi Umar were killed in a brief encounter on February 4 in Sopore’s Amargarh area. They were traveling in a private car when police and army waylaid it and shot the two militants dead.
According to a senior security official, both Lone and Ghazi had travelled across the border to Pakistan and received directions from top Hizb operational commanders to strengthen the militant base in north Kashmir’s areas like Kupwara, Baramulla and Sopore.
A police official said that Lone, a resident of Bomai in Sopore, had gone to Pakistan in March 2016 on a passport and infiltrated back to take command of Hizb in Sopore area. The militant commander had been shifting base between Kupwara and Baramulla districts.
Confirming that these killings were in fact a big success for the security establishment, the security official confirmed that Hizb had suffered a severe blow. After the encounter in Sopore’s Amrgarh ended with the killing of the duo, a Hizbul Mujahideen spokesperson, termed it as ‘big loss’ to the outfit.
Most of the militants in North Kashmir areas, from the outfit, had been lying low for some time especially after Hizb’s breakaway faction Lashkar e Islam (LeI) began its operations in the region. The ‘jilted’ faction, however, lost ground within few months while its leader Abdul Qayoom Najar went into hiding soon after the ‘infighting’ claimed several militants belonging to LeI.
A top commander Ghazi hailed from border township of Kupwara. The 27-year-old militant had joined Hizb ranks in April last year, according to an official, but was given an important charge of Nazim-e-Tarbiyat (training in-charge) to recruit and counsel young militants in Kashmir.
“He (Ghazi) had spent at least four months across the border – two in Islamabad (Pakistan) and the rest in Muzaffarabad area and had met with prominent militant leaders in Hizb,” the security official said.
A former Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) worker, Ghazi had participated in various voluntary works especially in the aftermath of September 2014 floods and had joined education department as a lecturer before joining the militant ranks.