Militant outfit Al-Umar Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attack on paramilitary Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) on Friday night in Srinagar in which one soldier died and eight others were injured.
Militants fired upon the SSB men in Zakura as they were returning from duty. Officials said that eight SSB men were injured in the attack and a 24-year-old jawan succumbed to his injuries. A J&K policeman, Zulfikar Ali, was also critically injured in the attack.
Top police, paramilitary and administrative officials had participated in the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain SSB Jawan, Ghanshyam Gurjar. Gurjar, 24, was a resident of Dausa Rajasthan and had joined the force in April 2013.
If the claims of the Al-Umar Mujahideen are true, the attack would mean resurgence, after 16 years, of the indigenous militant group led by Mushtaq Zargar, who was released along with two others in Kandahar in December 1999 in exchange of the passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814. The two others, who were swapped in exchange of the 155 hostages, were JeM chief Masood Azhar and Omar Saeed Sheikh.
The Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) is currently the only indigenous militant group operating in the valley. Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants operating in valley are mostly foreigners.
Zargar was quoted by a local news agency CNS saying that the militants from his outfit carried out the attack in Zakura on the outskirts of Srinagar.
“Earlier also we carried different attacks on security establishments but never claimed the responsibilities for those attacks. Now we have decided to come out in open. We will continue to target Indian security personnel operating in Kashmir valley,” said Zargar. He warned of intensifying attacks in the coming days.
Zargar, a resident of old city Srinagar and known by the alias of ‘Mushtaq Latram’ , was active in early nineties when armed insurgency erupted in valley in 1989. He was arrested in 1993 and then let off in 1999 in exchange of the hostages.
Police officials refused to comment on the organisation’s claims.
Kashmir has witnessed heightened militant activity after the army announced that it carried surgical strikes on militant launching pads across Line of Control following an attack on army camp in Uri on September 18.
Reportedly, there have been a few public appearances of the militants during pro-freedom rallies as protests escalated across Kashmir following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
As many as 89 persons have lost their lives and thousands injured after security forces used guns to contain the spiraling protests during these three months. The killings triggered more anger against the government and security forces.
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