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Meet LeT Militant Junaid Mattoo, Who is Trapped in Encounter With Army

Suhas Munshi |

Updated: June 16, 2017, 1:46 PM IST
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Meet LeT Militant Junaid Mattoo, Who is Trapped in Encounter With Army
LeT Commander Junaid Mattoo (circled). Screen grab from CNN-News18.
New Delhi: A day after he is believed to have killed a policeman who returned to home after duty, in Kulgam, local Lashkar militant, 20 year old Junaid Mattoo, is believed to be trapped along with two other Lashkar militants in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

An encounter to eliminate all militants is being carried out by army, CRPF and local police in Bejbihara’s Arwani village. Local boys are believed to be pelting stones at the security forces to disrupt the encounter.

Mattoo was mentioned in the list of the 12 ‘Most Wanted’ militants released by the Indian army on May 30 and carries a reward of Rs 5 lakh. He was categorised as an ‘A’ class militant. Category ‘A’ is the second highest classification in the order of their rank and threat. The highest classification being ‘A++’.

Others in that list include A++ classified top commander of LeT in Kashmir Abu Dujana, Burhan Wani’s friend and Hizbul commander Saddam Padder who is also an A ++ militant, and former Hizbul militant ‘A++’ militant Zakir Musa.

Mattoo is believed to have joined militancy in June 2015, although some accounts estimate he was affiliated with militant groups since 2014, and carried out three separate attacks on local police. The first was carried out in June last year in which he along with another militant killed two policemen. The second, attributed to him, was an attack on a bus full of BSF soldiers also carried out in June. Three BSF soldiers died in the attack. The third attack being attributed to him was carried out on Thursday in which one policeman was killed.

Mattoo was appointed LeT’s chief of Kulgam district after his friend, Majid Zargar the then chief of Kulgam, was killed by security forces in December last year. Mattoo was a college student when he joined militancy. He was a resident of Khudwani village in Kulgam district.

The fact that Mattoo has been trapped in an encounter in Anantnag district shows how lines between various militant factions may have got blurred over time. It was usually Hizbul that operated in areas like Anantnag and Tral, and Lashkar militants used to be active in Kulgam and Kakapora. But militants from various groups have often clicked themselves together and are also believe to be getting increasingly associated with each other.

Lashkar, whose Kulgam chief Mattoo is, is believed to have around 30 militants, Hizbul Mujahideen around 100 militants and Jaish e Mohammed around 15 militants, active in the valley.
First Published: June 16, 2017, 1:46 PM IST
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