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Rising trend of burqa-clad terrorists worry forces

Author: Raj Shekhar
Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 2, 2018
URL:      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/rising-trend-of-burqa-clad-terrorists-worry-forces/articleshow/66037794.cms

The revelation that the terrorists who killed a policeman and snatched away his rifle, during an attack at a police station in south Kashmir’s Shopian on Sunday, were wearing burqas to hide their identity has left the security forces alarmed. Officials say there has been a rise in the trend of terrorists using this disguise during an attack or cordon and search operations.

According to officials, more than a dozen such instances have been confirmed in the last one year and the actual number of them going unnoticed may be much higher. Security forces are now mulling the possibility of having woman troops on standby during search operations.

"It has often been noticed during CASOs that a lot of locals, with women in large numbers at the front, began to run around in order to give cover to the fleeing ultras. This creates confusion and many a times terrorists manage to escape," he added.

Another officer recalled an operation conducted around the Republic Day this year in which this confusion had led to two women sustaining gunshot injuries during an intense encounter. Security forces had been trying to capture two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in Shopian district of Kashmir. However, the duo, later identified as, Sameer Ahmed Wani and Firdaus Ahmed, tried to flee the village wearing burqas. As locals and family members ran around with them to provide cover, two women, including Wani’s sister, was shot at. The duo was ultimately gunned down as well.

Just a month later in February, burqa-clad terrorists handed over weapons to LeT deputy commander Abu Hanzullah aka Naveed Jatt at a hoapital. He escaped from custody with four others after shooting two policemen.

Officials say that terrorists had used the burqa to hide their identity in the past as well but those were one off incident reported once in a while. Since last year, this has become a trend.

In July, 2017, three burqa-clad terrorists robbed a bank in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag and escaped with over Rs 5 lakh. This was one of the first major incidents in the last one year involving terrorists in this disguise.

In February and March, two incidents of terrorists wearing burqas hurling grenades par police stations came to fore. In one of these incidents, a terrorists blew himself as he tried to escape after hurling the grenade at a police station in Tral.

In January this year, Lashkar-e-Taiba had issued a fatwa against women who did not observe complete 'parda'. It specifically mentioned women of Shopian area in Kashmir.
 
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