SRI NAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Dilbag Singh on Wednesday said the al-Qaeda affiliate in Kashmir, Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind (AGH), has been wiped out from the Valley with the killing of three militants, including its chief, on Tuesday.Singh said three AGH militants, including its chief Hameed Lone alias Hameed Lelhari, were killed in the encounter with security forces in Awantipora area of Tral in south Kashmir. Lelhari had taken over AGH leadership after killing of his predecessor Zakir Musa last year. He had joined the militant ranks in 2016, the year when Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed.
The DGP said when Musa was killed, the AGH had almost been decimated. “But Lelhari motivated two more youth, Naveed and Junaid, and recruited them into AGH”, both of whom were killed along with him. Terming Lelhari’s killing as a major jolt to militancy, the DGP said he was involved in many attacks on the forces.
Singh appealed to local militants to lay down arms and return to the mainstream. “We feel grief that the youth, who have gone on a wrong path, have been lured into militancy, due to the instigation from Pakistan,” he said.Asked whether militant recruitment had gone up after August 5, Singh said, “About five-six youth have gone missing from their homes during this period. But we can’t say with certainty that they have joined militancy.”
On the detention of youth, he said, “Out of every five persons arrested, four were released. All this action was aimed at maintenance of public order.” No juvenile had been arrested or detained, he added.
Singh said action on FIR against the SIT which probed the Kathua gang rape and murder case, would be taken as per the law.