The Phenomenon Of The Irregular Terrorists
No History Of Crime, Recruited For Kill And Run Operations
Kashmir terrorism is witnessing a new phenomenon. This alarming new trend has been introduced by The Resistance Force (TRF), a shadow organization of the banned Lashkar e Taiba (LET). Many youngsters in suburban Kashmir are part of this new syndicate. This terror syndicate follows the same template as Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, a happy hunting ground for Mumbai’s underworld.
For as little as Rs 2,000 to Rs 50,000, the Mumbai underworld has routinely hired men and youth from Azamgarh to execute supari killings. Mumbai gangs hire youth with clean records from Azamgarh, bring them to Mumbai, and assign them targets. The youngsters are given money, weapons, and a photograph of the target. Job done, the youngsters are asked to pack up and go back, and wait for the next call. In Kashmir, the only difference in the template is that the underworld is replaced by the terrorists here – Kashmir’s large mafia network. Boys with clean records are hired to kill the targets, hide the weapon and resume normal life. They are not part of terrorist groups and have a so-called clean slate. Hence the police find it difficult to trace them even though they may partially be seen in video grabs.
TRF chief Abbas Sheikh was killed by the police in an encounter in the last week of August. About a year ago, Abbas had initiated the culture of hit and run, especially targeting policemen and police officers in the valley. Abbas played a key role in motivating young men to be “irregular terrorists” who executed the hit and run module and disappeared from the scene. As in the case of the hitmen of the Mumbai underworld, these irregular terrorists are executing killings in Kashmir as a part-time job. They select the target, shoot him and thereafter mingle with the population. In most cases, these irregular terrorists remain untraced.
The Undesignated Terrorists
Since these youth are not among those who have left their houses and adopted militancy, it becomes difficult for the security agencies to nab the culprit. In most of the cases where policemen have been killed, the same pattern has been adopted. The policemen or police officers were shot in the back, after which the assassin escaped. Despite being caught on spy cameras or CCTV footage in many cases, police have not been able to identify the killer because he is not associated with any terrorist organization.
Abbas shifted his base from South Kashmir to Srinagar in winter this year. He was spotted in the busy Lal Chowk area about three months before he was killed in Tengpora area of Srinagar city. Abbas hunted for young men who needed money and were ready to kill for it without joining terrorist ranks. Abbas recruited such youngsters and inspired them to kill on demand. With this, the culture of killing for money is gradually picking up in Kashmir, especially Srinagar. The killing of Abbas Sheikh in a covert operation by Srinagar police was seen as a huge success against militancy in the valley. With his killing, at least the recruitment of new irregular terrorists has suffered a huge blow. The issue of concern is that the number of youngsters who came into contact with Abbas is significant. They have developed a criminal mindset and are covertly indulging in the heinous crime of killing soft targets for money. In north Kashmir’s Kupwara and Bandipora districts and in entire South Kashmir, TRF and other terrorist groups are hugely into narcotics trafficking. Since the sources of funding through hawala and illegitimate channels have dried up, terrorism in Kashmir is sustaining majorly on narcotics.
Over-Ground Workers (OGWs) of terrorist networks play a crucial role in narcotics trafficking and the killing of soft targets. Since January 2021, such killings have seen a sharp rise. On the very first day of the year, unknown terrorists shot dead Satpal Singh, a goldsmith, at Hari Singh High Street in Srinagar. The killing was considered the work of irregular terrorists.
Chronology of Killings By “Irregular Terrorists” In Kashmir
The newly-born shadow organization of LET, The Resistance Front, claimed responsibility for this first killing of the year. The police subsequently learnt that the murder had been executed by an irregular pistol-bearing terrorist. In yet another case, a pistol-bearing irregular terrorist hired by TRF killed Akash Kumar Mehra, the son of Ramesh Kumar Mehra, a dhaba owner at Dalgate. Police later learnt that the killer was paid Rs 20,000 by his masters for the killing, which was executed on January 17, 2021.
On February 19, 2021, the TRF irregulars fired upon a police party at Bhagat Chowk, killing SGCT (Selection Grade Constable) Mohammad Yousuf and CT (Constable) Suhail Ahmad on the spot. The terrorist fled after the shoot out. On April 1, terrorists killed Constable Rameez Ahamad Yatoo, deployed at the residence of BJP leader Mohammad Anwar Khan at Aribagh Nowgam. Two terrorists and their women accomplices were wearing burqa when they attacked the guard of Anwar Khan. The duo where eliminated at Kakpora Pulwama in less than 24 hours after the attack.
Constable Javid Ahmad of Saidapora Eidgah was killed by TRF irregulars on June 17 at his residence.
In yet another act of terrorism, Inspector Parvaiz Ahmad Dar of Kanipora Nowgam was fired on his back by two TRF irregular terrorists. Dar died on spot. The irregular TRF terrorists remained untraced.
In the latest incident, an irregular TRF terrorist attacked a Sub Inspector of Jammu and Kashmir Police Arshad Ashraf Mir, shooting him on his back. The incident occurred on September 12 at Khanyar near Government Gousia Hospital, Srinagar. The injured cop was taken to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. In all these cases, irregular terrorists were involved. Barring the killers of Akash Mehra, the other killers remain untraced.
“Irregular Terrorists Pose A Major Challenge”
SSP Srinagar Sandeep Chaudhary told KZINE that irregular terrorists who mingle with the population after executing an act of terror pose a greater challenge. “A designated terrorist holding an AK-47 rifle is prone to stay in hiding. It is the irregular over-ground worker who kills soft targets covertly from behind.”
The SSP added that the police have identified and subsequently arrested many over-ground workers of the terror networks. Efforts are on to weed out the over-ground criminals from the society. Meanwhile, terror apologists who are sympathetic towards the cause of terrorism desperately try to condone the acts of terrorism. Following the killing of Sub Inspector Arshad Ashraf Mir by a pistol-bearing irregular terrorist, NDTV’s local correspondent Nazir Masoodi tweeted: “Thousands Attend Funeral of Cop Killed in Action in Jammu and Kashmir.” Killed in Action? A Sub-Inspector shot twice in the back at point blank range by a paid assassin is killed in action? This is how truth is often obfuscated in Kashmir.