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Five days after a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist was killed by Hizbul Mujahideen militants in an inter-group clash at Tral in Jammu and Kashmir, the home ministry is concerned over reports of launching pads being prepared for cross-border infiltration in areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“We have confirmation that Jaish launch pad commander Mufti Asgar and HM commander Imtiaz Alam are preparing terrorists in Dudhniyal across the Keran Line of Control (LoC) to infiltrate with the melting of snows,” said a senior official.
Read: Pakistan militant Maulana Masood Azhar resurfaces
With Pakistan allowing Jaish chief Masood Azhar to come out of hibernation since 2008, the home ministry is picking terror group’s activity in Tral, Pulwama and Shopian in south Kashmir, with an aim to disrupt the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“It is evident now that Jaish cadre infiltrated into South Kashmir in 2013. Security forces gunned down Jaish terrorists Hassan, Rizwan and Farooq on January 13 in Sopore, while Arshad Bhai alias Chotu died in an inter-group clash over personal matter on March 10,” he added.
Although New Delhi is beefing up its counter-insurgency posture across the LoC to prevent infiltration this summer, its larger worry is the resurfacing of terror commanders of banned groups in Pakistan – Azhar spewed venom against India on January 26 and erstwhile chief of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, was seen on TV shows in Islamabad.
“With the US pulling out of Afghanistan later this year and assembly elections due in Kashmir around the same time, rehabilitation of terror leaders in Pakistan reveals plans of heating up the Valley with violence this year,” said a senior official.
India is particularly concerned about Jaish, which has ideological affinity with Deoband in UP and could revive its network in the hinterland and South Asia. The group is known for ‘spectacular’ terror attacks like the 2005 attack on Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya, and is looking to avenge the hanging of Afzal Guru last February.