Junaid Mattoo, 19, classified as a Category-B militant was one of the 70 persons recruited in 2015 by the Lashkar-e-Taiba. A year later, Mattoo has been made the chief of the terror outfit in South Kashmir.
The region is important since it was the epicentre of the unrest and because the maximum number of terrorists have infiltrated here. Mattoo is being viewed as the next Burhan Wani.
Educated and tech savvy, Mattoo is being closely watched by the Intelligence Bureau. Hailing from Kashmir's Kulgam town, he went missing last year, following which, his father Ahmad Mattoo dashed off to the police station and submitted a hand-written complaint.
A few days later Ahmad found out that his son had joined the LeT.
A top militant today:
Mattoo was first spotted when on June 4 this year, a group of militants attacked a police station in Anantnag. CCTV footage captured Mattoo rushing into a car after killing two police men.
He was also behind the attack on the BSF bus on June 3 in which three personnel were killed and seven others injured. The attack was carried out on the Jammu National Highway. Mattoo carries a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head.
Mattoo's rise has been meteoric. Normally militants spend at least 3-5 years before moving up the ranks. However, Mattoo made it to the top in less than one year.
When he went missing, the police registered a case and classified him as a Category-B miliant. A similar case was registered against 69 others who had joined the LeT along with him. The police say that the Let made the recruitments at a time when the outfit's morale was sagging.
Mattoo and the rest were part of the new crop of militants who were hardcore, but educated. For a terrorist outfit, this is a lethal combination. Moreover, Mattoo is social media savvy and this has been an added advantage for him.
He is also part of the terrorist squad which comprises only locals. As of today, there are 77 militants of only the LeT of which 70 are locals.