TRF militants out to destroy Kashmir again
New Delhi: The Resistance Front (TRF), which announced its arrival on October 12, 2019, online via encrypted chat platform Telegram, is once again in the spotlight after killing five innocent civilians, including four members of minority communities, in Kashmir last week.
TRF had appeared at the scene just two months after New Delhi announced its decision to abrogate J&K's special status and divided it into two union territories. TRF claimed that it's an indigenous outfit but when it appeared on the scene at that point of time there was no Internet in Kashmir due to restrictions imposed by the government.
The Pakistan connection was clearly visible as the Internet was accessible there and the security agencies could easily make out that the TRF is a shadow of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) invented to cover the old actors of Pakistan- sponsored militancy in the Valley and to provide an indigenous identity to outsourced violence.
Pakistan even today is under scrutiny of the Financial Action Task Force for its support to UN-designated terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, etc. These Pakistan-based militant organisations have mostly avoided taking responsibility for attacks since the emergence of the TRF.
TRF's first known activity was a grenade attack on October 12, 2019 that injured eight civilians in Hari Singh High Street.
In February 2020, the TRF owned a grenade attack in the busy Lal Chowk area of Srinagar. In the attack four civilians and two Central Reserve Police Force personnel sustained injuries.
After the attack J&K Police scanned the CCTV footage to identify a Pulwama youth who was earlier picked up for his links to JeM. The police arrested three youth Shakeel Ahmad Band, Naveed-ul Lateef Padroo of Pulwama and Shamshad Manzoor of the Shopian district in connection with the attack.
In the same month the TRF emerged again and claimed that its cadres were engaged in a gunfight with soldiers at Handwara in North Kashmir. However, the J&K Police debunked the TRF claims saying the terror outfit is a shadow front of the LeT. Inspector General of Police Kashmir said that one of the two militants killed in the gunfight was a Pakistani citizen named Haider, the head of Lashkar-e- Taiba in Kashmir.
The militant group struck again in Wangam in Handwara area and killed three CRPF personnel in the same month, again the TRF owned the attack. The outfit within a span of a few months started dominating terror actions in Kashmir.
The TRF name also emerged in April 2020 during the Keran encounter, a difficult operation spanning over five days. The infiltration happened on April 1, with five heavily armed ultras being eliminated. The operation Rangdouri Behak ended with five Army troops also losing their lives.
At least three of the militants killed were identified as locals travelling to Pakistan on valid Pakistani visas through the Wagah-Attari border. Instead of exfiltrating, the three chose the legal route. The trio had been missing since the year 2018 when they crossed over for weapon's training. The ultras killed in the Keran encounter were identified as Sajjad Ahmed Hurrah, Adil Hussain Mir and Umar Naik (1). TRF militants enter Srinagar, 8 killed; hunt on.
Till the recent past the TRF militants were confined to hinterland only but they appeared in Srinagar to recreate a situation like 1990 by terrorising the minorities and targeting locals. They entered Srinagar city and went on killing spree on October 5 and 6. They committed four cold blooded murders in J&K's summer capital, the victims included a Kashmiri Pandit Makhan Lal Bindroo, a prominent chemist; street vendor Virendar Paswan of Bihar, and two teachers, Supinder Kaur and her colleague, Deepak Chand. Another killing of a civilian, a transporter, Mohammad Shafi, was carried out in North Kashmir's Bandipora district. The murders rattled the entire Valley. And it looked like 1990 had returned. But the swift response of the security forces has broken the back of TRF, in the past few days, 8 militants have been neutralised in different encounters across Kashmir and hunt is on to clean Kashmir.
Soon after the J&K Police and other security forces launched a counter offensive to get the TRF militants, an ultra identified as Aqib Bashir Kumar of Trenz Shopian affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba, was killed in an encounter at Natipora in Srinagar city on October 8.