Why Hizbul Mujahideen is rattled after murder of Army officer Ummer Fayaz

On the intervening night of May 9-10, Indian Army lieutenant Ummer Fayaz – who would have turned 23 this June – was abducted, tortured and killed by terrorists.

Police investigation indicates that it was the handiwork of Hizbul Mujahideen, which feared that Ummer Fayaz may change the narrative thrust down the Kashmiri youths. Hizbul feared that instead of Burhan Wani, Ummer Fayaz would capture the imagination of the youths given the flamboyance and nonchalance the young Indian Army officer had.

Incidentally the suspected new Hizbul Mujahideen commander Umer Majid – who has been tasked by the militant outfit to carry out terror acts after Burhan Wani and whose first name sounds like that of the martyred Indian Army officer – hails from the same Kulgam district as Ummer Fayaz.

According to reports, the joint team of Indian Army, CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir police had carried out the massive search operation in Shopian early this month looking for Umer Majid and his associates.

HIZBUL’S DENIAL BETRAYS NERVOUSNESS

Usually, the terror groups active in the Kashmir Valley claim responsibility for terror acts immediately and at times multiple outfits claim credit for an incident. But, in case of the abduction and murder of Ummer Fayaz, Hizbul Mujahideen looks nervous.

They waited to gauge the reaction in Kashmir to the killing of Ummer Fayaz. After waiting for three days, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin issued a statement himself distancing his organisation from the murder.

A statement was emailed to local news agency Kashmir News Service (KNS) saying, “Our militants are not involved in murder of Lt Ummer Fayaz. Such a killing is condemnable.”

This denial by Hizbul stems from the realisation of ground reality that the locals have not liked the killing of one of their own by the terrorists, who claim to be fighting for the rights of the Kashmiris albeit on behalf of their Pakistani masters.

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Ummer Fayaz had gone home to attend a wedding in the family. He was abducted when he was sitting with the bride. The family did not approach the police or the Army thinking that the terrorists wouldn’t harm a Kashmiri.

But when the bullet-riddled body of Ummer Fayaz was found the next morning, emotion ran high among the locals. The mist of propaganda had become clear. Their reaction has been muted but the message passed on to the Hizbul bosses sitting across the LoC.

Salahuddin quickly put the blame on the Indian Army, which has vowed to bring the killers to justice.

NOT THE FIRST MURDER OF ITS KIND

Ummer Fayaz’s murder is not the first killing of an Army or paramilitary officer carried out by the terrorists in Kashmir. But, the previous killings happened in 1990s, which is termed as the worst period of militancy in Kashmir.

Lieutenant Colonel GS Bali was kidnapped along with his cousin from Badgam in 1991 and killed. They had gone to attend a funeral.

Three years later, a BSF jawan was kidnapped from Doda district and his bullet-riddled body was found in Anantnag district a couple of days later. He was tortured before being killed.

But Ummer Fayaz’s murder seems to be a watershed moment in the Valley. The Hizbul Mujahideen seems to have realised this. Hence, it issued a statement dissociating itself from the murder.

HIZBUL CHIEF GAGS TERROR OPERATIVES

Hizbul Mujahideen is so nervous that it has “directed the militants on the ground to desist from issuing statements and consult the top commanders on policy and freedom matters.”

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Salahuddin’s directive is a clear indication that he fears that the Hizbul operatives in Kashmir may unmask him over the killing of Ummer Fayaz. His statement is also a message to some of the local commanders, who have recently threatened the separatists for calling the Kashmir issue a political dispute.

A local Hizbul commander Zakir Mosa threatened to behead separatists, who opposed ISIS or made distinction between jihad and Kashmir issue.

Salahuddin further warned the journalists, who are reporting on the changed ground realities in Kashmir. Hizbul chief has asked the terror operatives “to identify those scribes who are writing against the freedom struggle to weaken the movement.”

CHANGING ASPIRATIONS OF KASHMIRI YOUTHS

Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz Parra symbolised the aspirations of the Kashmiri youths, who want a good and comfortable life like the rest. They are looking for good and high paying jobs.

Ummer Fayaz was the son of a farmer. Born in 1994, Ummer Fayaz studied at the Army Goodwill School in Pahalgam. He was a sports lover and was in the hockey team at the Indian Military Academy (IMA).

He inspired confidence among the youths of Kashmir showing them the way beyond militancy. The changing mood among the youths can be gauged from the fact that despite spike in the incidents of stone pelting nearly 19,000 youths lined up in various parts of the Valley during the recruitment drive by security forces in Kashmir.

Hizbul was clearly threatened by what could have developed into Ummer Fayaz phenomenon.

Now, Jammu and Kashmir police have put out posters of the suspected killers. Three suspects belong to the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba. They have been identified by police and efforts are on to nab them.

 

 

 

 

 

Source:- India Today

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