Country Report on Terrorism 2020 - Chapter 5 - Hizbul Mujahadeen (HM)

Hizbul Mujahadeen

Aka HM, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen

Description:  Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) was designated as an FTO on August 17, 2017. The group was formed in 1989 and is one of the largest and oldest militant groups operating in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.  HM is led by Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin, and officially supports the liberation of Jammu and Kashmir from Indian control and its accession to Pakistan, although some cadres are pro-independence.  The group concentrates its attacks on Indian security forces and politicians in Jammu and Kashmir and has conducted operations jointly with other Kashmiri militants.  HM is made up primarily of ethnic Kashmiris.

Activities:  HM has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.  In 2015, the group claimed an attack on Indian security forces in Kupwara that killed three Indian troops, according to the targeted forces.  HM launched additional attacks against Indian security forces in 2015 and 2016.  In 2017, HM killed seven persons — including five policemen — when it attacked a bank van carrying cash in Jammu and Kashmir. In 2018, HM reportedly killed four police officers in Shopian district in the Indian state Jammu and Kashmir.  Also in 2018, HM claimed responsibility for abducting and killing three police officials in Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2019, Indian officials accused HM of being behind a grenade attack on a Jammu bus stand that killed a teenager and injured 32 other people.  That same year, two Indian soldiers were killed and six others injured when an alleged HM militant attacked their patrol with a vehicle-borne IED (or VBIED).  HM was also suspected by police of having killed five Bengali laborers and a truck driver in 2019. In August, three HM militants opened fire on Indian soldiers during a search operation in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, killing one soldier.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  The Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of support are unknown, but HM is suspected to receive some funding from sources in Pakistan as well as from local fundraising.