Intelligence inputs say Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) has chosen Zeenat-ul-Islam alias Alqama, as its new commander. Islam is the first local face to head Lashkar operations in Kashmir. He hails from Sugan Zanipura in Shopian in South Kashmir.
He was elevated after LeT commander Abu Ismail – the mastermind behind the July 10 Amarnath attack, which killed seven people, was killed in an encounter by the security forces. Abu Ismail, a Pakistani terrorist, was made chief of Lashkar in the Valley last month after Abu Dujana, another Pakistani terrorist and Lashkar commander was killed by the security forces.
According to the reports, Islam is 28-years-old. He was recruited in November 2015, and is considered an expert with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
He is one of the main accused in the Shopian attack which took place on February 23, 2017. Terrorists ambushed army patrol in Mulu Chitragam area of the district which left three soldiers and a woman dead.
He was arrested for the first time in 2008, and was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) for being a member of Al-Badr. He was also in touch with different terror outfits and was working as an over ground worker for their members, arranging them food and supplies.
After his release in 2011, he initially worked with his father and got married before joining LeT. His father is an Imam (muezzin) in the local mosque. He completed his Bachelor of Arts from a local college.
Zeenat-ul-Islam is among the five most wanted terrorists by the security forces in the Valley.
The list includes Zakir Rashid Bhatt alias Musa who defected from Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and is now heading Ansar Gazhwat-ul Hind, Al Qaeda’s India branch; Reyaz AH Naikoo alias Zubair, tech savvy HM commander; Wasim AH, alias Osama, another LeT commander from Shopian who was in Burhan Wani’s group; and Abu Hamas, a Pak terrorist who is believed to head Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in India.
Indian security forces are on a hunt to eliminate terrorists from Kashmir and Abu Ismail was the fourth Lashkar commander killed this year – Abu Ismail, Abu Dujana, Junait Mattoo and Bashir Lashkari. Major HM terrorists hunted down this year include Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, Sajad Ahmed Gilkar and Yasin Ittoo.
According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, since 2013, over 600 terrorists have been eliminated from the Valley.