Hizbul Mujahideen- Kashmiri separatist and designated terrorist group was in the news last year following the killing of Burhan Wani, the Kashmiri militant and the commander of the outfit. It is making headlines yet again, so here’s everything you need to know
Hizbul Mujahideen is one of the largest guerilla outfit in Kashmir
The Hizbul Mujahideen led by Sayeed Salahudeen is one of the largest guerilla outfits active in the Kashmir Valley today. It was formed by Pakistan’s top religious political party Jamaat-e-Islami, under the influence of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI to counter the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF)- an organization that advocates for the complete independence of Kashmir. What sets this militant outfit apart from the rest is that it is composed of mostly ethnic Kashmiris unlike the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad (Insurgent groups which mainly consist of radical Pakistanis).
US declared Sayeed Salahudeen a ‘Global terrorist’
A native of central Kashmir himself, Sayeed Salahudeen joined the Hizbul Mujahideen around 1989 and shifted to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, from where he played a key role in training and arming youth for insurgency in the Kashmir valley. He also heads the United Jihad Council, the body of jihadists of which Hizbul is a part.
On 26th June 2017 , the US Department of State declared the Hizbul chief Sayeed Salahudeen as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’.The announcement came hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump’s met at the White House. Designation as a ‘global terrorist’ can isolate organizations/individuals, deny access to the US financial system and can help law enforcement efforts of other affected nations. This is seen as a major victory for India.
Burhan Wani’s former aide was killed in an encounter and the situation turned from bad to worse
After the killing of Burhan Wani in July last year, the killing of Sabzar Ahmad Bhat- his former aide triggered clashes in the Kashmir valley on 27th May 2017. He was said to have been the operational chief of Hizbul. A day before his death, Hizbul had a fierce gun battle with the government forces according to the army. It has instigated fresh tension in the valley.
“The struggle in Kashmir is religious not political”
According to the Hizbul, the struggle for Kashmir is not political but ‘Islamic’, based on religion and they are opposed to an independent Kashmir, and want Kashmir to join Pakistan.
Salahudeen quoted Pakistan and its role in Kashmir’s unrest confirming the proxy war waged by Pakistan in India through the Mujahideen. He is also close to the Jamaat-ud- Dawa chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. In one of his statements he vowed to turn the Kashmir valley “into a graveyard for Indian forces.” Recently in an interview with a local Pakistani TV network audaciously remarked that he could strike anytime, anywhere in India.
The Government should sit up and take note, else it will be a win for separatism; a win for Hizbul Mujahideen!