New Delhi: A few days before his killing, Kashmiri militant leader Burhan Wani had spoken to Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed seeking his “blessings” and offered to put up a united front of LeT and his own Hizbul Mujahideen in their jehad against Indian security forces.
CNN-News18 has accessed an audio tape of the conversation between Wani from his jungle hideout and Saeed sitting in Pakistan, which was intercepted by Indian intelligence agencies.
Wani, 22, was the posterboy of Kashmiri militancy, and his death in an encounter with security forces a few day after he spoke to Saeed had set off a wave of protests in Kashmir. The state has been in a security lockdown ever since the encounter last July.
The three-decade old Kashmiri militancy has always been marked by turf wars with outfits often competing with each other. Wani’s own Hizbul, led by Sayed Salahuddin, is a pro-Pakistani outfit but mostly made up of Kashmiris. However, the Lashkar, commanded by Hafiz Saeed, draws its cadre predominately from Pakistani Punjab, and hasn’t shied away from launching attacks outside Jammu & Kashmir like the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
In this context, security agency sources said that Wani reaching out to Lashkar pointed towards a concerted effort by Kashmiri militant organisations to bury their differences and pose a united threat to India, prompted by their Pakistani handlers.
CNN-News18 could not independently verify the authenticity of the tape in which Wani is also heard requesting Saeed to extend more support to Lashkar militants inside Kashmir Valley in terms of arms, ammunition and money.
Saeed is heard praising Wani, but even while listening to all that he was saying, the Lashkar leader refuses to open his mind.
The tape begins with a call from Saeed’s location in Pakistan where his assistant tells Wani that he is handing over the phone to Peer Sahib (Hafiz Saeed).
“You people are living in very difficult conditions. But you don’t have to worry. Whatever you need just tell us we are ready for every help. Will be ready for anything. You just have to tell us,” Saeed tells Wani.
Wani tells Saeed that “the enemy is almost defeated and we have to maintain this.”
“We have to go all out on attacks and shouldn’t lose this opportunity. For this we need ammunition and support from the back. We should work together for this (Hizbul & Lashkar),” Wani is heard as saying.