Days after Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Abu Ismail was killed in an encounter, Jammu and Kashmir DGP SP Vaid, when quizzed about the new leader militant outfit, on Monday said nobody is willing to take that role. “What is there in a name? I have infact heard that there is vacancy of commander in Lashkar and nobody is willing to accept it,” Vaid was quoted as saying by ANI.
LeT leader Abu Ismail, who was the mastermind behind the attack on Amarnath yatra pilgrims, and his associate Abu Qasim were neutralised in an encounter in Nowgam in Jammu and Kashmir. Ismail was the fourth top commander to be killed in South Kashmir since the security forces launched ‘Opeartion all-out’ to flush out the militants in the valley. “Opeartion all-out will continue till there is peace in Kashmir,” Vaid added.
Alarmed by the increasing number of militants being eliminated in the valley, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen accused Zakir Musa, Al-Qaeda’s commander in South Kashmir of having “taken a great sum of money from the Indian government for engineering the martyrdom of important mujahideen”. In a statement released online, Hizb said, “Never in the past have so many mujahideen been martyred in so short a time. The man responsible for this is none other than Zakir Musa (Zakir Bhat’s pseudonym). This traitor is trying to weaken the freedom movement. He has confused the public by calling himself a mujahid, whereas he is in fact an agent of India.”
Many security officials described the continuous killing of the top leaders in the valley as “game-changer in South Kashmir and a morale-booster for security forces.” Around 58 terrorists have been eliminated in South Kashmir in the last eight months. 132 militants were killed in Jammu and Kashmir till August 9 this year. Major General B S Raju, General Officer Commanding, Victor Force, which is responsible for security in South Kashmir, said that the killing of Ismail would lead to a “serious leadership crisis in the Lashkar.” The other militant leaders killed by security forces under ‘Operation all-out’ are Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, Yasin Yattoo and Abu Dujana.
When asked if the militants changed their strategy in the aftermath of operation all out, DGP Vaid said that if the militants change tactics, so would the security forces. “In a situation like this, every one changes their tactics. We will also change, do not worry,”