Rare role of Kashmiris in suicide attack sparks concerns, 16-year-old Pulwama attacker urges Kashmiris to fight India

Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terror group responsible for the Pulwama attack, justified using a minor as a suicide attacker saying the trio offered themselves for “the mission.”

Two young Kashmiris, aged 16 and 21, were among the three suicide attackers who targeted the CRPF camp at Lethpora in Pulwama in the Valley on Sunday, resulting in death of five troopers — a fact people in law administration and security forces find worrying because instances of direct local involvement in such attacks is rare.

The people added that instances of such involvement are few and far between, even across the 28-year long militant campaign in the Valley — not more than half-a dozen times, they said.

In April, 2000, 17-year-old boy Afaaq Ahmad Shah, resident of Khanyar in the state capital, carried out what is considered to be first suicide attack in the trouble-torn Valley, at the 15 Corps HQ.

The most recent instance where a local was found to be involved in a suicide mission, was in 2010 in the Lal Chowk attack.

“It is worrisome. The youth are being brainwashed by Pakistan to die in this manner,” said Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid .

Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terror group responsible for the Pulwama attack, justified using a minor as a suicide attacker saying the trio offered themselves for “the mission.”

A Jaish statement identified the third terrorist who participated in the attack as Abdul Shakur from Rawalakot in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). CRPF officials in Delhi said Whatsapp groups active in PoK have identified the third militant as Ali Sozal .

Kashmiris have been “part of suicide missions” before but not in “majority” (two of three terrorists), said Sheikh Mushtaq, senior journalist and former Reuters Bureau Chief in Kashmir.

The two Kashmiris have have been identified as Fardeen Mohiuddin Khanday, 16, resident of Hiana in Tral and Manzoor Ahmad Baba, 21, resident of Drubgam in Pulwama.

Khanday, who is son of Jammu and Kashmir police head constable Ghulam Mohiuddin Khanday, left a 7.52 minutes video saying that by the time the video is released he would be in paradise’.

“Fardeen was known to the security establishment in the Valley as he was found to be in touch with a Jaish militant killed in March last year. Similarly, the second local suicide attacker, Manzoor Ahmad Baba used to drive a taxi before he joined Jaish on November 7, a day after another Jaish militant he was closely associated with was killed by security forces,” said a senior security forces official in Srinagar.

By releasing Fardeen’s video, Jaish seems to have taken a leaf out of book of global terror outfits such as al Qaeda and Islamic State, which regularly release video messages of their Fidayeens.

In his video message, Fardeen, speaking in Urdu, claims the “rise of militancy has nothing to do with unemployment as being portrayed by India”; It’s a reaction to “Kashmir’s occupation by India” he adds.

“The Infidels have occupied our land, modesty of our women is at stake, so Jihad becomes our duty,” he rants.

The teenager eulogises Jaish terror leader Maulana Masood Azhar, and parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Fardeen went missing on September 15, 2017. Nearly a month later, a picture of the missing boy appeared on social media posing with an AK47 rifle with ‘Jaish-e-Muhammad’ inscribed on corner of the picture.

The involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in the attack on the CRPF camp in Pulwama district of south Kashmir was confirmed on Monday with the terror outfit releasing a video of the youngest attacker urging the Kashmiri youth to join jihad against India.
Five paramilitary personnel were killed when three JeM members stormed the CRPF camp-located in Lethpora village-with Kalashnikovs and grenades around 2 am on Sunday despite specific intelligence inputs by the J&K Police 12 hours before that the site could be attacked.
The three JeM fidayeen members were finally killed in the ensuing gunfight. A chilling fact emerged that the youngest attacker, Fardeen Ahmad Khandey’s father Ghulam Mohammad Khandey is a cop.
The JeM video shows the 16-year-old exhorting the youth to join the ‘fight against India because infidels [India] have occupied Kashmir and the modesty of women is at stake.’
With two Kalashnikovs behind him and another in front, grenades displayed and a pistol in his lap, Fardeen dubs the government’s reasoning that unemployment in the state has triggered militancy as mere propaganda.
”The rise of militancy is a “reaction to India’s occupation”, he says.Fardeen also praises the JeM in the video, recorded moments before he attacked the CRPF camp.
“It is not possible to stop Jaish-e-Mohammad,” he says after mentioning the Pathankot and other attacks carried by the outfit.
He also praises JeM founder and leader Maulana Masood Azhar and Afzal Guru for their role in the Parliament attack in 2011.
CRPF Special DG (J&K zone) S N Srivastava has said that the attack was ‘contained because our men were ready,’ but the J&K Police had warned of an attack merely 12 hours ago.
The search operation in the area is still going on. “We want to be doubly sure before we call off the operation.
Two of the militants killed yesterday are from this region and the third is a foreign militant,” he said.