The recent attacks on the telecommunication system and the separatist leadership's scathing reactions to it has driven a wedge between the militant commander across the Line of Control (LoC), an operational commander in north Kashmir and hardline separatist leaders.
Sources said Hizbul Mujahideen's operational commander Qayuum 'Nazarwala', a resident of Sopore, is unhappy with hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) based United Jehad Council chief Syed Salahuddin.
The unhappiness stems from the scathing attack of Geelani and Salahuddin on Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI), the little-known group apparently behind five attacks on telecommunication system that left two dead and four injured in the last fortnight, crippling telecommunication system in vast areas in north Kashmir. The threats started in first week of May when Hizb's communication network was busted.
The militant group, which the police suspect to be a shadow group of Hizbul Mujahideen and run by local commanders, in a statement issued in Srinagar, claimed that the outfit has told Salahuddin that despite claiming responsibilities for attacks on the Ganju house and a sub-inspector jointly along with Hizb and Jais, they were branded "terrorists" and compared with Al Faran.
"We are no Indian agents but mujahideen who are ready to perish for Islam...Though we have no complaints, you (Salahuddin) should first probe and then say whether our step was right or wrong," reads the statement.
LeI spokesman rebutted statements issued by Geelani and Salahuddin against the outfit.
Justifying attacks on the telecommunication system, the outfit's spokesman said, "Due to telecommunication network, a lot of militants were killed, including two militants from Palhallan. Though Allah gave us ability to understand this nuisance (telecom network), the brothers who come from Pakistan for us are unaware. Laskhar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad outfits were most affected due to this nuisance."
The group said it had no intention to kill a BSNL civilian in Sopore but claimed responsibility to kill another for "being an army informer."
With wedge widening and anger brimming, separatist Islamic Students League patron Shakeel Ahmad Bakshi has urged separatists and militant leadership to refrain from issuing fatwas (edicts) without in-depth probe.
"Instead of going in public, the matter should have been resolved amicably. The militant commanders should have engaged in a professional way to investigate the recent confusion without jumping to the conclusion on just hearsay or some press notes in newspapers," he added.
As evidences collected by the police point toward the Hizb's local group, eight people arrested so far have failed to be of any help to security agencies. Sources said the local Hizb group has roped in around 30 locals to revive activities in the Kashmir Valley. These boys are locally trained as earlier and tasked to snatch weapons from security forces only.