The Union Home Ministry sought to downplay the presence of the Islamic State in the Kashmir Valley. However, sources in the Home Ministry said that they are currently seeing a resurgence of a 1990s outfit, the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen.
How serious is this development? Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that this appears to be a new strategy put in place by the ISI to give groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Hizbul Mujahideen breathing space and also a sense of deniability.
The TuM has the same ideology and demand that the rest of the groups operating in the Valley have. The objective of this groups too is to merge the state of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan.
The TuM was formed in June 1990 by Yunus Khan who is a close associate of Mohammad Abdullah Tairi, the chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Ahle-Hadith.
The South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) says that the main motivating factor for this group was the protection of the Asidh community which is a small faction among the Sunni Muslims.
The group which appeared to be strong suffered setbacks in its early days when its commander in chief, Yunus Khan was killed in an encounter in 1991. Another set back was when the Border Security Force arrested Abdul Gani Dhar alias Gazalli, the supreme commander of the group in 2002. In 1999, the group lost its commander Abu Waseem Salafi in an encounter.
A majority of the group's cadres comprise of foreign terrorists primarily from Pakistan. There is also a small presence of local terrorists in the group. SATP says that the TuM has a two-tier structure with the top level comprising an Amir, Naib Amir, operations chief, military advisor, intelligence chief and district commanders. The next level is on the field and comprises divisional commanders and regiment commanders.
The group is headquartered in the Kashmir Valley in the Beeru belt of Budgam district, Ganderbal, and parts of Srinagar, Anantnag and Pulwama. When the outfit was launched it also opened a unit in Muzzafarabad where it sent its cadres for training.
The group has been funded by various countries. However, the primary source of funding for the group came from the Saudi Arabia based Harmain Islamic Foundation. It has also found support from various groups in Bangladesh and has very often used the Nepal route to ferry in money through hawala channels. Further, the group is backed heavily by the ISI and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba as well.
In Bangladesh, TuM operatives have been supported by local Islamist groups like the Islamic Chhatra Shibir (ICS), Harkat-ul-Jehadi-e-Islami (HuJI), Islamic Okiya Jote, Imam Parishad and Islamic Shashantantra Andolan.
Today, the TuM has a limited presence in the Valley. The latest Intelligence Bureau report speaks about the group trying to revive itself. It is trying to create a platform where it can rope in more locals when compared to foreign terrorists, the report further states.