Former chief commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and one of its founding members, Ahsan Dar has been released on bail nearly four years after he was nabbed by police for "trying to promote coordination among Lashkar-e-Taiba, HM and other militant organisations in the state".
Dar was lodged in the Srinagar central jail undergoing trial in many militancy-related cases after police arrested him in the Sumbal area of Baramulla district in January 2009. "All the cases registered against him are bailable offenses and he was released on court orders on Tuesday," said Srinagar central jail superintendent of police M Ayoub Bhat.
"He is at home and has not been detained again," confirmed Sheikh Junaid, counter-intelligence officer, Kashmir, in Srinagar.
Dar founded the Hizbul Mujahideen in 1989, the year armed struggle broke out in the Kashmir Valley. However, he was expelled from the militant outfit in 1991 with Syed Salahuddin taking reins of the group. Salahuddin has ever since headed the outfit from Muzaffarabad, capital of Kashmir on Pakistan side.
After being expelled, Dar founded another militant outfit by the name of Muslim Mujahideen in 1992. He was arrested in 1993 and spent more than six years in jail. As per police, after his release in 1999, he "again joined militancy and ex-filtrated to Pakistan along with his family".
On his arrest in January 2009, police had claimed that Dar was 'working as a coordinator for a number of militant organisations and had been active' after infiltrating into the Valley. "The subject has remained in close contact with the ISI and with other Pakistan agencies and has been regularly receiving funds from the agencies across. He had infiltrated into India via Bangladesh border", police had said.
However a 2009 statement issued by Hizbul Mujahideen' s spokesman Ahsan Illahi had rubbished claims of police that Dar was having any links with the outfit. "Dar was expelled from the outfit in 1991. He was not on any mission of Hizb as claimed by some media reports", the statement had said.