New outfit with suspected LeT link comes under scanner

5 terrorists, alleged to be its members, were gunned down in Kupwara on April 5

Published - April 09, 2020 10:12 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Quick action: The alleged terrorists were gunned down by forces in J&K’s Kupwara on April 5.

Quick action: The alleged terrorists were gunned down by forces in J&K’s Kupwara on April 5.

A newly floated outfit, the Resistance Front, has come under the scanner of enforcement agencies for its suspected links with the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Its five alleged terrorists were gunned down by security forces in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara on April 5.

“We have reason to believe that the outfit is a front for the LeT. It has been launched to evade the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) scrutiny and avoid further sanctions. The FATF is to review Pakistan’s performance in acting against terror funding at its meeting in Beijing to be held from June 21 to 26,” said an official of the Enforcement Directorate.

The financial investigating agencies are trying to unearth the channel of funding to the new outfit, which is also called JK Fighters, to identify all those involved.

Three of those killed in the encounter were from Kashmir, identified as Sajad Ahmad, Aadil Hussain and Umar Nazir. It is suspected that they crossed over to the other side in 2018 and infiltrated into the Indian territory days before the encounter.

On March 23, the Jammu and Kashmir police arrested four alleged members of the same outfit and seized weapons from them. They were identified by the police as Shafqat Ali, Ahtesham Farooq, Nisar Ahmad and Musaib Hasan.

Preliminary investigations revealed that they were allegedly receiving instructions from a Pakistan-based handler through a mobile-based chat application. The accused had also been told to recruit locals.

“In February, the FATF decided to keep Pakistan on the grey list and gave it another deadline for compliance with its recommendations on terror financing by June. Subsequently, attempts are being made to project that Pakistan-based elements are not involved in any terror activity in Kashmir. However, recent encounters have revealed that regular infiltration attempts are being made,” the official said.

While over 130 terrorists had entered Indian territory in 2019, 32 managed to cross over in January and February this year. Currently, a total of 242 terrorists are active in the Kashmir Valley, of whom 138 are locals and 104 are said to be from Pakistan. Among them, 110 are from the Pakistan-based LeT, 59 from the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the rest from Hizbul-Mujahideen, according to the agencies.

The security forces killed 18 terrorists in January, seven in February and over half-a-dozen in March.

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