Pak-based Al Badr behind Keran clash

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 22, 2013 01:05 IST

Even as Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is scheduled to visit Samba sector to chair the Unified Command meeting and review the counter-infiltration strategy in Jammu on Tuesday, Pakistan-based Al Badr mujahideen group has been identified as the principal terrorist group, which clashed with the Indian Army at Shalla Batu village in Keran sector last month. It is headed by Bhakt Zameen from Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan.

Top government sources said that Shinde may not go to the international border in Jammu due to stepped up Pakistani firing from across the border, he will visit Hiranagar Police station, which was targeted by three Pakistani suicide attackers on September 26 and question senior officials on the delay in response to the terrorists that day. He will also review the counter-infiltration grid set up by the Army, Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF and JK Police with Pakistani-based terrorist groups making efforts to push in infiltrators before the onset of winter.

Shinde and Home Ministry is seriously concerned about the stepped up infiltration from Pakistan as well as the revival of Al Badr group to push in KP Pashtuns in Kashmir. Electronic surveillance and intelligence inputs from Dudniyal, across the Keran sector, suggests that it was a group of 30-40 Al Badr terrorists with some from Jaish-e-Mohammed who engaged the Army in Shalla Batu village.

Communication intercepts reveal that a large number of terrorists were communicating in Pashto, commonly spoken in KP and across the Durand Line.

While Al Badr first surfaced in support of Jamait-e-Islami in 1971 East Pakistan war, the group has shown signs of revival and may replace Hizbul Mujahideen, whose indigenous cadre numbers are depleting fast. Kashmir watchers say Al Badr deliberately engaged the Indian army to highlight that Kashmir was still a burning issue. “This strategy has now become clear with Nawaz Sharif asking Barak Obama for intervention in Kashmir. Instead of relying on Kashmiris, Pakistan now wants to use Al Badr KP Pashtuns to push insurgency in the Valley,” said a senior official.

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