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Kashmir militant group founder arrested: Indian Police

Srinagar, January 14, 2009:

Muhammad Ahsan Dar, a founding commander of Kashmir's indigenous insurgent group Hizbul Mujahideen was arrested in north Kashmir Wednesday morning, Indian Police said.

"Dar was arrested while sneaking into Sumbal area from his hometown of Pattan in a vehicle," Deputy Inspector General North Kashmir A G Mir told media person in Baramulla, 60 km north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir.

Mir said Dar had crossed Line of Control, a de facto border which divides Kashmir into Indian and Pakistan administered parts to get arms training in 1999.

He said Dar had last year infiltrated into India from Bangladesh border.

"He was on a special mission to coordinate the activities of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Muhammad insurgent groups," the senior Indian police officer said.

"Dar had organized various attacks on Indian troops and was trying to give an impetus to insurgent activities within Kashmir and different parts of India," Mir said.

The police officer said before becoming an insurgent, Dar was a school teacher.

"He crossed LoC for the first time in 1984. He again crossed LoC in 1988 and returned the same year. He was arrested after his return but managed to escape from the hospital," the police officer said.

Dar again crossed the LoC in 1989 and laid the foundation of Hizbul Mujahideen along with Muhammad Abdullah Bangroo, who had fought against Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Bangroo became the military advisor while Dar the operational chief of the Hizb.

Within a year of its formation, Hizbul Mujahideen became the largest militant outfit in Kashmir with over 12,000 cadres.

However in 1992 Ahsan Dar developed differences with Hizb leadership and parted ways with the militant group and floated his own outfit Muslim Mujahideen.

He was arrested in 1993 and release after six years of detention.

"After his release in 1999, he again became active and rejoined militancy. The same year unidentified gunmen his brother killed his brother following which he again crossed LoC along with his family. After remaining in Pakistan administered Kashmir for over 8 years Dar returned to Kashmir via Bangladesh border last year," the police officer said.

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