Ex-TuM chief was also alleged assassin of Maulana Shaukat, father-in-law of Afghanistan-based ISJK chief Aijaz Ahangar
STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Founder of the radical terrorist outfit Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM) and a top-raking leader of Ahl-e-Hadith, 80-year-old Abdul Gani Dar alias Abdullah Gazali of Russu (Beerwah), Budgam, was on Thursday afternoon found dead inside Jamia Masjid Ahl-e-Hadith at Maisuma, close to the business hub of Lal Chowk, in Srinagar. Police said the body was handed over to the family members after Dar’s head was found bleeding. “Prima facie, it appeared that someone had him forcefully in his head with an iron rod that led to his death. Samples have been lifted and CCTV footage is being scanned in various attempts to identify the assassin”, said a senior Police officer. According to him, Police suspected Dar’s killing as part of the factional clash within Ahl-e-Hadith community. “We are investigating some leads suggesting the hand of a rival cleric of Abdul Gani Dar in this assassination”, he added and said that there was reportedly nobody other than Dar inside the mosque when he was found in a pool of blood. “We assure community members that investigation in the matter will be fast tracked in a professional manner”, reads a Police press release.
Dar is the third top ranking Ahl-e-Hadith leader who has been killed by unidentified persons at the same mosque in Maisuma in the last 30 years. Then head of the organisation, Professor Mohammad Ramzan was attacked and left injured by unidentified gunmen when he was coming out after performing Friday congregational prayers on 29 January 1999. Subsequently, he died at a hospital on 15 February 1999.
The organisation’s second top leader, Maulana Shaukat Shah, was killed in an IED blast outside the same mosque by unidentified terrorists, believed to be his rivals within the organisation, on 8 April 2011. In the 400-page charge-sheet filed by Police in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar on 14 July 2011, Dar alias Gazali was mentioned as one among the six terrorists who had planned and executed the terror strike to eliminate Maulana Shaukat. Others were identified as Javed Ahmad Munshi alias Bil Papa of Chhanpora, Nisar Ahmad Khan alias Ishaq, Abdul Majid Dar alias Al-Madani, Reyaz Ahmad Shah and Gulzar Ahmad Khan.
During their custody, they were also interrogated by National Investigation Agency (NIA) for an IED blast which occurred at Delhi High Court on 7 September 2011 and was reportedly identical in fabrication to the IED that had been tied to a bicycle to eliminate Maulana Shaukat. However in May 2015 court of 3rd Additional Sessions Judge, Y.P. Kotwal, granted bail to Dar after prosecution failed to produce evidences. Thereafter, he continued his activities as a preacher but was closely related to the terror networks from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Jammu and Kashmir.
In 1990, Dar was the eldest to join terrorism when he launched and headed for two years TuM as the terror arm of Jamiat-e-Ahl-e-Hadith in Kashmir. It indoctrinated and recruited hundreds of terror cadres and claimed large number of attacks on security forces as well as civilians.
In 1992, Police and security forces arrested Dar. During his lodgement at a detention centre in Rangreth, near the old airport in Srinagar, he came into contact with another detained terrorist, namely Aijaz Ahmad Dar of Nawakadal Srinagar. After both of them were released, Dar got his daughter Rukhsana married to Ahangar.
According to Police records, Ahangar crossed over to Pakistan in 1996 and thereon to Afghanistan. Even after he became father of two daughters and a son, in Afghanistan he was inducted into a branch of Al-Qaeda in 2016 and appointed as head of its J&K chapter, Islamic State of Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) under command of Tehreek-e-Taliban jihadist Hafiz Saeed Khan and Afghan Taliban commander Abdul Rauf Aliza.
In February 2015 Aliza was killed in an American drone strike followed by Hafiz saeed Khan in another attack in September 2016. Aijaz Ahangar’s 15-year-old son, Abdullah ibni Aijaz alias Abu Umair also joined ISJK. However, in July 2017, he too was killed in an American drone attack.
Ajaz Ahanger alias Huzefa Al-Pakistani, is currently believed to be the head of ISJK, affiliated to Al-Qaeda’s Afghanistan-based branch Wellat-e-Khurasan. Over a dozen terrorists of this organisation have been killed in the last two years in internecine clashes with Hizbul Mujahideen and other pro-Pakistan jihadist groups and in encounters with security forces in Kashmir.
Facing growing pressure from police, Aijaz Ahangar and Rukhsana are known to have travelled to Pakistan through Nepal, using false passports. Living in their new home in Islamabad, the couple had two daughters – Sabira, born according to her travel documents on 13 September, 1997, and Tooba, born on 27 December, 2001 – and a son, Abdullah.
Aijaz Ahangar’s elder daughter, Sabira, was married to Amir Sultan, a resident of Sialkot in Pakistan, who was killed in a United States drone strike near Nangarhar on 17 September, 2019. Like her younger sister, Tooba, she has never been in Kashmir.
Both of Ahangar’s daughters are currently at a detention centre in Afghanistan even as the Indian authorities have not sought their repatriation like a number of the European countries who have refused to take custody of the Al-Qaeda terrorists and their families captured by the US troops in Afghanista, Iraq and Syria.
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