The Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM) was formed in June 1990 by Yunus Khan, a close associate of Mohammed Abdullah Tairi, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Ahle-Hadith.
The TuM aims to merge the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) with Pakistan and also promote a pan-Islamist identity. The protection of Asidih community, a small faction of Sunni Muslims, was a prime motivating factor for the outfit in its early days.
Leadership, Command Structure and Cadre
Sheikh Jamil-ur-Rehman is the Amir (chief) of the organization. Maulana Fazlur Rahman, chief of his own faction of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam and currently Member of the National Assembly (MNA), is the patron of the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen.
Abdul Gani Dar alias Gazalli, ‘supreme commander’ of the outfit, was arrested by the Border Security Force on March 1, 2002, from the Lal Chowk area in Srinagar, capital city of J&K. A front ranking TuM cadre, he was active in the Kashmir Valley since year 1998.
The group suffered major setbacks in its early years when its founder Yunus Khan, then ‘commander-in-chief’, was killed in an encounter in 1991. Mohammed Salim Miron who returned from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in July 1991 succeeded him. Later, in 1999 security forces in J&K killed its ‘commander’ Abu Waseem Salafi.
The outfit has a two-tier structure with the apex level consisting of Amir, Naib Amir (deputy chief), ‘operations chief’, military adviser’, ‘intelligence chief’ and ‘district commanders’ and the field level consisting ‘divisional commanders’ and ‘regiment commanders’.
The TuM is dominated by foreign mercenaries recruited from Pakistan and PoK although a certain percentage of its cadres are also drawn from J&K.
Headquarters and Areas of Operation
TuM operates primarily in the Kashmir Valley, especially in the Beeru belt of Budgam district, Ganderbal and downtown localities of Srinagar, Pulwama and Anantnag districts. In year 1990, it opened an office at Muzaffarabad in PoK and sent its cadres for arms training. Ghulam Mohammed Ghani and Mohammed Shah Wani maintained that office for a considerable period of time.
It has received funds from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, UK, USA and Gulf Countries primarily through organisations subscribing to the Ahle Hadith tradition. The Saudi Arabia-based Haramain Islamic Foundation has provided extensive funds to the TuM. In 1996, TuM established linkages with the Bangladesh Ahle Hadis Youth Association, which helped the outfit in certain cross border operations. TuM bases in Nepal were utilised to ferry Pakistan-made explosives and movement of cadres from India to Pakistan and vice versa. The Kathmandu network was used extensively by the TuM to distribute funds received through Hawala transactions for a number of terrorist groups in J&K.
The outfit has a close association with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), another Jehadi group of the Ahle Hadith tradition.
It receives considerable assistance from Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the PoK government.
It is one of the members of the Muzaffarabad-based United Jehad Council (UJC), a 15-member conglomerate of Pakistan-based terrorist groups.
The outfit is reported to have carried out joint operations in the Kashmir Valley in the recent years along with the LeT. From 1995 onwards, the ISI started to route funds to the LeT through the TuM.
In Bangladesh, TuM operatives have been supported by local Islamist groups like the Islamic Chhatra Shibir (ICS), Harkat-ul-Jehadi-e-Islami (HuJI), Islamic Okiya Jote, Imam Parishad and Islamic Shashantantra Andolan.
Ever since its formation, the TuM has maintained close links with the Amanullah Khan faction of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in PoK.
The outfit has a limited presence in the Kashmir Valley and its activities have declined in comparison to the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), LeT and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). However, due to continuing international pressure on Pakistan since 9/11, major terrorist groups have refrained from claiming responsibilities for their actions and instead outfits like the TuM and the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen have been encouraged to claim responsibility as part of the ISI’s new operational strategy in J&K.