Jammu: In a major blow to the commander of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Burhan Wani, who has emerged as the new poster boy of Kashmir militancy in recent times, his close aide – Tariq Pandita, surrendered before security forces in south Kashmir on Saturday.
Tariq, a resident of Kareemabaad, was key member of HM (Burhan Wani) group, which was under the radar of security agencies. Earlier this month, three Hizbul militants were neutralised in an encounter with the security forces in Avantipora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Last year in April, another close aide of Wani, Naseer Ahmad Pandit, was gunned down by forces in Shopian district. Naseer Ahmad Pandit was a former police constable, who used to work as a guard at the residence of a former Jammu and Kashmir minister. He had reportedly escaped with his service rifle to join Burhan-led HM.
Burhan Wani, 21, who is son of a government school principal, is known for inciting youth to join the armed rebellion by posting videos and pictures on social networking sites.
According to reports, his pictures in fatigues and with a rifle and a video giving a sermon to people about launching a jehad had gone viral in the valley sometime back.
Reports also say that about 30 youth have joined Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in South Kashmir this year alone.