The hunt begins: New top 10 militants in Kashmir
New Delhi: Indian security forces have launched fresh operations to neutralize the next wave of Top 10 most wanted terrorist currently active in Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. According to top sources in the security establishment, these terrorists are linked to Pakistan-based terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). The immediate aim of security forces is to disrupt all the active terrorist networks and launch retaliatory strikes to neutralize them.
These top 10 terrorists were trained in terror camps operated with the help of Pakistan's intelligence unit ISI. They were well-armed before infiltrating into Indian territory to recruit Kashmiri youth and carry out terror strikes.
"Pakistan is recruiting gullible youngsters from Kashmir and are training them for carrying out jihad against India," said a top anti-terror unit chief.
The security forces move to identify top terrorists came after Riyaz Naikoo, one of Kashmir's most wanted terrorists and the commander of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed during an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama during an anti-terrorist operation conducted by the Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police in the Beighpura area.
Naikoo, 32, had a bounty of Rs 12 lakh on his head and was a key target for India once he took charge of the Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir.
The security forces are offering rewards for information leading to the apprehension of the next line of 10 most wanted active terrorists after a list was prepared as early as this week. This is a part of a counter terror strategy adopted after two senior army officers -- a colonel and a major- were among five security personnel killed in action during an encounter in Handwara in Kashmir's Kupwara district. Colonel Ashutosh Sharma along with Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar, Lance Naik Dinesh, and police Sub-Inspector Sageer Ahmad Pathan was killed in the encounter.
According to security forces, Hizbul Mujahideen newly appointed head Saifullah Mir alias Ghazi Haider alias Doctor Sahab is on the top of the wanted list. He had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in October, 2014 and hails from Malangpora in Pulwama. He was radicalised by Naikoo and given the name Ghazi Haider.
The second in the list is Mohammad Ashraf Khan alias Ashraf Maulvi alias Mansoor-ul-Islam. He joined Hizbul Mujahideen on September 9, 2016 and has since been active in the valley. Third in the list is Junaid Sehrai and he also belong to Hizbul Mujahideen. Then comes Mohammad Abbas Sheikh infamous as Turabi Maulvi and is active since March 3, 2015. He is also member of terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.
Fifth in the list is Zahid Zargar and he part of JeM. He has been active since late 2014 and has gone underground for last few months. The sixth in the list is Shakur, who is member of LeT and is active since 2015.
Seventh in the list is Faisal and he is infamous as Faisal Bhai. He is member of JeM and is active since 2015.
At eight is Hizbul member Sheraz al Lone. He is infamous as Maulvi Shaab and he joined the terror outfit on September 30, 2016. Saleem Paray of JeM figures at ninth place and Owais Mallick of LeT comes last on the wanted list.
These terrorists belong to top category and are active in north and south Kashmir.
Some of the wanted terrorists names came up before the security forces following a spate of rivalry between terror recruits of The Resistance Front' (TRF), a newly-created terror organisation in Kashmir, and the Hizbul Mujahideen.
The security establishment have decided to increase bounty of these terrorists' manifold as part of counter-terrorism strategy in a bid to neutralize them as soon as possible.
"Hunt for these terrorists are on. The quality of intelligence about terrorists in several districts has improved and we are determined to act against terror before it raises its head in the region," said the anti-terror unit chief.