Dissension In Militant Ranks: Lashkar, Jaish Call For Hizbul Chief Syed Salahuddin To Step Down

| February 16 , 2018 , 09:17 IST

Intelligence reports in the past have suggested that the 3 main militant groups active in Jammu and Kashmir region, namely Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) work together to carry out terrorist attacks, backed by Pakistan's ISI.

However, all may not be right between the 3 militant groups, intelligence reports suggest. As per military intelligence input quoted by Times of India, the Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahauddin is under pressure from the LeT and JeM to step down.

Heading the United Jihad Council (UJC), Salahuddin has led HM for years with the support of ISI but is battling the depleting influence of Hizbul in Kashmir-centric operations, as other militant groups increase their presence.

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The military intelligence input states that the Hafiz Saeed-led Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Maulana Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed are leading a campaign to remove Salahuddin and pitting a few of his commanders such as Amir Khan, Imtiyaz Alam and a few others against him.

"ISI is under pressure from LeT and JeM to remove Syed Salahuddin," TOI quoted the input as saying.

In the past, Syed Salahuddin, who is also a UN-designated global terrorist, gained prominence as the head of the UJC which was formed by the Pakistan army as an umbrella organisation for coordination between various anti-India terror groups.

Due to specific intelligence-based operations of the Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police and the CRPF, top commanders of the Hizbul Mujahideen have been killed including Burhan Wani, Sabzar Bhat, Sajad Gilkar, and Abdul Qayoom Najar, have been killed. The group has also not carried out any major attack on security forces in Kashmir, in comparison to LeT and JeM which are now being more preferred by the Pakistani establishment.

"It’s good that these groups are fighting with each other but if Kashmiri militants are moved towards JeM and LeT, it could be a dangerous trend," said a home ministry officer anonymously.