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CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

 

ARTICLE
NILOOFAR QURESHI | 23 JUNE, 2015

THE ‘UNKNOWN GUNMEN’ OF SOPORE

The mystery regarding the antecedents of Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI) which has terrorised the people of Sopore town of North Kashmir by going on a killing spree is only deepening with every passing day. The police claim that this group’s cadres are most certainly Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants who having become disenchanted with their leader Syed Sallahudin have decided to abandon him and float their own outfit naming it LeI.  However, United Jihad Council (UJC) chairman and HM supremo Syed Sallahudin as well as the separatists have asserted that LeI is the creation of Indian agencies. And so, at a time when the separatists should be taking concrete action to expose the malevolent plot and thus ensure that such killings stop immediately, they are busy playing politics by issuing statements and calling for hartals to protest these wanton acts of senseless violence.

Let us examine this whole issue once again. The police claim that it has identified the LeI cadres responsible for the Sopore killings and sources have even claimed that Sopore resident and HM commander Abdul Qayoom Najar is heading the newly created LeI. However, the UJC spokesperson Syed Sadakat Hussain has asserted that “Lashkar-e-Islam has nothing to do with the freedom struggle going on in Kashmir.... The activities of this group are the result of popularity of Mujahideen in Kashmir. India created this group out of frustration.” The Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani is more precise and claims that “a plot was formulated some months back by Union Home Ministry for running this operation. We have evidence that the terror organisation (LeI) is the brainchild of Indian secret agencies. Its purpose is to harm and defame the freedom struggle and to disturb the social setup and economy of the State.” 

Regarding these killings, Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani has said that “we are right in understanding that the Indian secret agencies are directly or indirectly involved in all these matters as they want to punish the people of Sopore for their deep affiliation with the freedom struggle of Kashmir.” He has also stated that since “Sopore area has always been a cause of concern for the policy-makers of India; so this time they have hatched a deep conspiracy against this region and they want to terrify the people with the fake organisations and want to spread anarchy here.” He has justified his opinion by saying that “according to government figures, there are few militants in J&K and they too are very cautious due to the strong spy network (of security agencies). Since the surfacing of the Lashkar-e-Islam, it seems there are militants everywhere who kill in broad daylight and threaten people, and army and police are totally unaware about this. This kind of bravery is only done by those persons who are either sponsored by the government or have any type of links with the secret agencies.” 

This article has appeared in the Rising Kashmir.

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