Srinagar: Are the reins of terror now being held by pan-Islamic, battle-hardened, foreign militants drawn from Lashkar-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami and Al-badr? Are militants no longer being locally bred by Hizb-ul Mujahideen?
A few months of lull after the Mumbai terror strike and the Lashkar-e-Toiba is at it yet again. Intercepts suggest that the Lashkar cadres on ground have been told to wait for fresh recruits from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
CNN-IBN has learnt that there are around 400 men from Lashkar, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami and Al-badr waiting in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir to sneak into India.
Lashkar spokesperson Dr Abdullah Gaznavi said, "India should know that freedom struggle in Kashmir is going on with full force and in the coming days, they will be dealt with more damage. The Lashkar will fight for aazadi (freedom) of Kashmir and will continue to give sacrifices."
Army sources say that the Lashkar cadres are in a process of couriering arms and ammunition to launch fresh attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and outside. Though the Lashkar number is estimated to be just 150 at present, far less than the Hizb-ul Mujahideen, which dominated militancy for last 18 years, Army and police believes they are still formidable.
J-K DGP Kuldeep Khuda says, "They are still formidable. They have the teeth to strike, but we have been dealing with them and will deal with them in future too."
Brigadier Gurdeep Singh adds, "We are sure the men (in the Kupwara encounter) were from Lashkar-e-Toiba. They are well trained and indoctrinated."
From a few minutes' street battle - where militants would lob a grenade and run off - militancy has come a long way. It is the Lashkar and pan-Islamic terror outfits that have really taken the battle to the security forces.