New viral video in Kashmir shows Lashkar, Hizbul militants bonding together

The new video has come as yet another proof that the two outfits have pooled their manpower in Kashmir.

New viral video in Kashmir shows Lashkar, Hizbul militants bonding together

A militant with a Kalashankov in hand enters the room and an unidentified commander already sitting there hugs him and asks him to give his introduction and to which militant outfit does he belong.

"My name is Arif Bashir. I come from Bijbehara. And I belong to Hizbul Mujahideen," the militant tells the commander adding he has joined militancy in deference to God's will. "If I die it will be my triumph. But if I live to see Kashmir getting freed from India, I will continue my jihad even after that."


Then another militant is asked to enter.

"My name is Jibran. I am from Lashkar-e-Toiba," the militant says. He repeats the same rationale for joining the militancy.

More militants enter the room, one from Hizbul followed by one from Lashkar and introduce themselves to the unidentified commander sitting there.

This new militant video has gone viral on social media in Kashmir and is the second video in the past week showing Hizbul and Lashkar militants bonding together in Valley. This has reinforced the prevalent understanding among the security agencies that the two outfits operate together in the state, even claiming each other's attacks.

And this is unusual.

Hizbul Mujahideen is the largest militant outfit comprised predominantly of the local youth. And Lashkar, composed mainly of the Pakistani militants, is a globally recognized terrorist group.

"This is a clever strategy by the two outfits. Lashkar is exploiting Hizbul's indigenous character and a measure global understanding of its cause," said a police officer. "So when a big Fidayeen attack which only Lashkar can carry out takes place, Hizbul claims its responsibility to pass it off as an indigenous attack."

In fact, in January last year, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin had claimed the Pathankot airbase attack which New Delhi had blamed on Jaish-e-Muhammed led by Masood Azhar. The attack had come days after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise visit to Lahore on December 25, 2015, to greet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday and ahead of the then scheduled foreign secretary level meeting in Islamabad on
January 15
.

Earlier, Hizbul Mujahideen had also claimed responsibility for the high-profile Hyderpora attack in Srinagar on June 24, 2013, in which 11 army personnel were killed and 11 others injured. But it later turned out that the ambush had been carried out by the Lashkar commander Abu Qasim, who was killed in October 2015.

However, the new video has come as yet another proof that the two outfits have pooled their manpower in Kashmir.

In another viral video uploaded a week before, the militants from the two groups are seen walking together in an area likely to be in north Kashmir. In the video, armed men are seen playing with snow and throwing snowballs at each other.

“Most often, the differences among militant groups in Valley exist in theory only,” said a police officer. "It is because all of them are funded and equipped by ISI which urges them to coordinate their activities."

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