Ismail vs Abu Dujana: LeT one-upmanship led to Amarnath yatra attack?
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Ismail vs Abu Dujana: LeT one-upmanship led to Amarnath yatra attack?

Amarnath yatra attack: In the first week of June, an intelligence input claimed that Ismail was moving in a group of four persons in the Pir Panjal range. 

Kashmir Turmoil Updated: Jul 12, 2017 21:57 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mehbooba Mufti,Jammu and Kashmir,Srinagar
Security force personnel stand guard at the site of a militant attack in Batengo village, around 40 kilometers south of Srinagar.(HT Photo)

Security forces operating in the Valley first heard the name of Abu Ismail, whose name has come up in connection with the attack on Amarnath pilgrims on Monday, more than two months ago.

In the first week of June, an intelligence input claimed that Ismail was moving in a group of four persons in the Pir Panjal range.

“The intelligence input claimed that Ismail and his group was doing a recee of targets in the area and moving through villages en route to the Amarnath cave,” said a security official who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to media.

The official added that there was a possibility that at least two persons in his group were local residents.

On Tuesday, I-G of J-K police Muneer Khan was quoted by ANI as saying that Abu Ismail was one of the masterminds of the attack, which he attributed to the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Sources in the security and intelligence communities have hinted at some kind of ‘one-upmanship’ between Ismail and Abu Dujana, who is considered the divisional commander of LeT for South Kashmir. Dujana is also known by the name of Hafiz and is considered to be from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).

“We haven’t heard much about Abu Dujana in the last few weeks. It could be a possibility that Ismail is taking over Dujana’s place who might have been withdrawn by his handlers — known as Sajid and Waleed — based in the PoK. But it seemed that Ismail and Dujana were competing with each other,” said another security official.

Sources in the J-K police suspect that when the bus that was carrying the pilgrims got a flat tyre at Sangam, someone informed the militants .

The state police, in its report to the Centre said the bus came under fire twice from within a distance of 75 meters from its right side. They also suspect that two groups were active in there as three attacks took place in the area within a span of 10 minutes.

Seven pilgrims returning from the remote Himalayan shrine of Amarnath were shot dead and several wounded when militants fired on their bus as well as a security vehicle in Anantnag district of Kashmir on Monday. There is mounting evidence of security lapses in the hours before the attack that triggered widespread condemnation across the country.

Blood trail on pilgrim route
The Amarnath Yatra has been marred by terror attacks that have left many unsuspecting pilgrims dead
Rise and fall in yatri numbers
Monday horror
As it happened
20:15 hour Militants attacked on the combined Naka of Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF at Khanabal and rushed towards Batengoo. No loss of life or injury reprted
20:20 hour Militants opened fire on a bus returning from Baltal, a base camp of Amarnath Yatra, at Batengoo. Seven pilgrims killed. The attackers escaped towards Arwani
While leaving, the militants fired on the camp of 90th battalion of the CRPF. No loss of life or injury reported
The bus was not part of any convoy of vehicles of the Amarnath pilgrims and before reaching Khanabal, one of its tyres got punctured
While the tyre was being repaired, some of the passengers got down and it is being suspected that watchers gave a tip off to the militants leading to attack
The Jammu and Kashmir government’s report to the Union home ministry states that there might be two groups of militants involved in attacks

First Published: Jul 12, 2017 07:56 IST