In a major breakthrough in the cases of targetted civilian killings, especially of members from minority communities, the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Sunday detained more than 900 over-ground workers (OGWs) of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Al-Badr and The Resistance Front (TRF),
Meanwhile, the investigation of these killings —— all of whom were claimed by The Resistance Front, which security forces believe is a front for LeT —— has been taken over by the National Investigation Agency, news reports said.
This crackdown, sources, added, is different from the investigations in target killings. The crackdown was important because agencies want to understand the support structure to terror groups across border, they said.
The crackdown comes after a spate of militant attacks on minority civilians in Kashmir, including a prominent pharmacist and a street vendor. Sources further said that all the detainees are under joint interrogation of different investigating agencies, which are trying to understand and correlate the working model behind the targeted killings of minorities.
As many as seven people have been killed in a fresh wave of terror attacks in Srinagar in the past week. Terrorists gunned down a Kashmiri Pandit pharmacist, a school principal, a teacher, and two others in such attacks which are being dubbed as ‘targetted killings.’ Minorities from the Kashmiri Pandit, Sikh and Muslim communities, are being targeted.
According to the Jammu Kashmir Police, 28 civilians have been killed by terrorists so far this year, seven of them Hindu or Sikh.
Founded in 2019, the TRF is thought to be behind these killings, and most certainly the group has also claimed responsibility by releasing callously worded press releases blaming the victims after each such crime.
According to a firstpost report, security forces believe that TRF is made up cadre drawn from the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad. The group is said to have received consignments of small-arms in recent months, ferried across the Line of Control by drones.
A former tailor, 1975-born Muhammad Abbas Sheikh led the TRF from its emergence until his death in a shootout with police. Sheikh recruited from amongst friends he had made during his three stints in prison, as well as from contacts he made during the large-scale street violence that broke out across Kashmir in 2010 and 2016. The TRF chief had served in the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen from 2002 to 2007, until he joined the Jaish-e-Muhammad. He never, however, received any serious military training, bar a short stint in Kashmir’s Redwani forests.
Like him, most TRF cadre have little military training, bar the rudimentary skills needed to fire weapons point blank — but are intimately familiar with the milieu in which they operate.
In interrogations, arrested TRF cadre have told police the overall command of the organisation rests with Sajid Saifullah Jatt, a veteran Lashkar-e-Taiba commander living near Kasur, in Pakistan’s Punjab.