New Delhi, Feb 16: Intelligence agencies have said that Pakistan-based jihadi outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad have been pressurising Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) chief Syed Salahuddin to step down. Intelligence inputs said that Hafiz Saeed-led Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Maulana Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammad are leading the campaign to remove Salahuddin as HM chief.Also Read - Jammu and Kashmir: 7 News Portals Banned in Ramban District For Peddling Fake News
The report said that Salahuddin, who has lead the Kashmiri separatist militant organisation for years with the support of the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has been facing opposition from other terror organisations, and Hizbul’s exhausting influence in Kashmir-centric operations. With Hizbul’s depleting influence in the Valley, Salahuddin, according to the reports, also expressed his willingness to step down as the organisation chief. Also Read - Kashmiri Hindu Shot Dead, Brother Injured as Terrorists Open Fire in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian
This has resulted in other jihadist groups pressurising Salahuddin to step down as the HM chief. “ISI is under pressure from LeT and JeM to remove Syed Salahuddin,” the inputs, accessed by Times of India, read. Reports also have it that not just other jihadist organisations, but some of the leaders in Hizbul are also lobbying against Salahuddin. Also Read - 6 ITBP Jawans, 1 Policeman Killed As Bus Plunges Into River In J&K’s Pahalgam
The current Hizbul chief also heads United Jihad Council (UJC), which was formed by Pakistan army for coordination between anti-India terror groups.
Some of the other reasons that TOI cites from the intelligence inputs include HM’s decline in Kashmir. In last few years, top commanders of the outfit such as Burhan Wani, Sabzar Bhat, and Abdul Qayoom Najar have been killed. The counter-terrorism officials said that Hizbul has also not carried out any major terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir in past few months, which has also irked the terror organisations.
“Fidayeen attacks on the camps of the BSF, the CRPF and the Army in the last couple of months are proof of JeM and LeT taking over the operations and that they want to expand their reach,” a senior officer said, adding, “It’s good that these groups are fighting with each other but if Kashmiri militants are moved towards JeM and LeT, it could be a dangerous trend.”