The Director General of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbag Singh made a significant statement related to the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Singh said that the Hizbul Mujahideen is on the verge of being completely wiped out in South Kashmir, the stronghold of nearly all terrorist organisations in the Valley. The statement came in the backdrop of three terrorists associated with the outfit being killed in an encounter that was carried out at the Shopian district of South Kashmir. A week ago, the security forces had also gunned down the district commander of the Hizbul, Harun Hafaz at Doda in a gunfight.

Burhan Wani and the aftermath:

The killing of Hizbul’s poster-boy and top terrorist, Burhan Wani was a major achievement for the forces. Although he had shot more pictures of himself and posted it on social media that fired bullets, he had started a trend, which began attracting the youth towards terrorism.

His sermons on social media had witnessed a large influx of terrorists into the Hizbul. The operation that was carried out against him was a pin-pointed one, based on proper actionable intelligence. It was the seamless coordination between the security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police that led to the precision killing of Wani.

In the aftermath of Wani’s killing, the situation did go out of control as the terrorists he had nurtured became extremely aggressive. There were 11 extremely dangerous terrorists, including Wani who were part of this group. The forces set in motion a plan to eliminate the entire group. It began with Burhan Wani in 2016 and by May 2018, the entire group was eliminated. One of the members, Tariq, surrendered.

The elimination of this group in such a short span of time ensured that the Hizbul Mujahideen was starved for terrorists and the spread of this group reduced considerably.

The disintegration of the Hizbul Mujahideen:

With the death of Wani and company, the Hizbul witnessed a major disintegration when one of its top commanders, Zakir Musa quit the group.

Musa questioned the functioning of the Hizbul Mujahideen and also the Hurriyat Conference. He said that many like him had believed that the Hurriyat and Hizbul were fighting for a cause, but in reality, each one was only after personal interests.

Musa, post the split, formed the Answer Ghazwat-ul Hind and declared his support to the Al-Qaeda.

Musa quitting further weakened the Hizbul Mujahideen and he also managed to recruit several from the outfit. The Hizbul has still not recovered from the loss of Burhan Wani and Musa as both had this immense influence to draw the youth into their fold.

On the May 24, 2019, Musa was tracked by the intelligence, local police and the secret forces and shot dead in an encounter that took place at Tral. With his death, his outfit too was largely weakened and today have hardly any presence in the Valley.

The fund squeeze:

While precise intelligence and a free hand in the Valley led to the disintegration of the Hizbul Mujahideen, one must also take a close look at the terror funding case being investigated by the National Investigation Agency.

It is a well-known fact that the ill-gotten wealth of the Hurriyat Conference was used largely to support the Hizbul Mujahideen. The money was also being used to pay the stone-pelters.

The NIA went after the big guns and arrested a top businessman, Zahoor Watali, who was the point man between Pakistan and the Hurriyat. The NIA also arrested Yasin Malik, who was receiving funds through a Delhi based hawala operative. The NIA in fact is looking at the crimes of Yasin Malik since 1995 and it has been revealed that he had a free run in getting money and using it for terror related activities.

NIA officials tell MyNation that the squeezing of funds has made it hard for the Hizbul Mujahideen to operate in the Valley. The very fact that they steal guns is testimony to the fact that they are running out of funds. The maximum number of weapon-snatching incidents in the Valley have been carried out by the Hizbul.

Grade A intel:

In the year 2018, the Hizbul Mujahideen issued a clarion call to target local policemen. This was a clear sign of desperation because, the outfit was aware that it was the intelligence provided by the local police, which was helping the security forces take their men down with such precision.

In the 1990s, the outfit would only target Central government officials and try and win over local police. However, when normalcy was restored, the police had become very active and this led them to getting pin-pointed information.

It was the local police that gave information to the others in the forces, who were not from the Valley. The police have become a dreaded lot for the terrorists today as the precise and Grade A intel they provide has led to such pin-pointed killings. Most of the terrorists eliminated, thanks to such intelligence, were part of the Hizbul.

Officials explain that it is not just good intelligence, but real time information about the terrorists that has helped in wiping out a large part of the Hizbul. Since 2016, when the government decided to go after the Hizbul in a big way, the life span of its terrorists too has decreased. The average life span of a terrorist of this outfit today is 1 to two years. This means that new ones have to be recruited and trained and this is not letting the outfit re-group the way they would have liked.