Srinagar: Mufti Waqas, the operational commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit in Kashmir, had been the mastermind of four fidayeen attacks in Kashmir, a senior police officer told Kashmir Reader.
The police officer, who was part of the operation, claimed that Mufti was the brain behind the fidyaeen (suicide) attacks at the army camp in Sunjawan, at District Police Lines Pulwama, on the CRPF camp at Lethpora, and on the BSF base close to the Srinagar airport.
“He was a very powerful motivator,” the police officer said. “He was sharp and a good planner and executioner. During the investigations it surfaced that he was the man behind the attacks on the government forces. If you look at those attacks, they all had been successful.”
The fidayeen attack on the Sunjawan army base left five army men, three militants, and a civilian dead. Two JeM militants and five CRPF personnel were killed in the attack on the CRPF camp in Lethpora. In the attack on District Police Lines Pulwama, eight forces personnel were killed. The attack on the BSF base near the airport left one officer dead and eight other government troops injured.
“We are still investigating how Mufti arranged men and logistics for the attacks,” the officer said. “But, it is clear, he was involved.”
The police officer said that Mufti was a powerful preacher with a good knowledge of religion.
“He worked in close coordination with Noor Trali, who was the former Jaish chief,” the officer said. “But, it was Mufti who actually was the main architect of the attacks and who revived the Jaish in Kashmir.”
Trali, known for his short height and formidable attacks, was killed last year during an encounter in Samboora area near Pampore. He was suceeded by Mufti.
Belonging to Pakistan Administered Kashmir’s Rawlakot area of Bagh district, Mufti crossed the heavily fortified Line of Control (LOC) in 2016, the officer said.
“He crossed the LOC in a small group and established himself in south Kashmir,” the officer said. “Thereafter, more Jaish affiliated groups crossed, who were mostly fidyaeen militants. Mufti guided them on how to mount attacks.”
Mufti was an IED expert and knew well the art of gureilla warfare, the officer said.
“He escaped twice from our cordons,” the officer said. “Last year we busted a hideout in Tral mountains. He was present there along with his three accomplices. As we were laying the cordon, he and the other three militants fled. Last year, he was again caught with Noor Trali in a cordon. He opened a hail of fire and managed his escape. Trali was left behind and was subsequently killed.”
How, then, was Mufti caught?
“This time we had pinpoint information about his hideout,” the officer said. “He was hiding in a house which offered no escape route. It was just beneath a low hill housing a CRPF camp. Mufti had no option as he had to come out of the house or stay inside. He came out and was shot very close to the house.”