AGH wiped out from Kashmir, its chief comdr killed: DGP

DGP Dilbag Singh addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
DGP Dilbag Singh addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

‘Decline in militancy gives nightmares to Pak’

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Oct 23: Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh, today said that the militant outfit Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) has been wiped out in Kashmir with the killing of its chief commander and his associates in Awantipora area of South Kashmir last night.
Speaking to reporters at Police Control Room during a press conference, Singh said that initially they had reports that the killed militants in yesterday’s operation were from Jaish-e-Mohammad and later they were identified and they belonged to AGH.

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He said AGH chief commander Hamid Lelhari was among the killed militants. “Another such operation was conducted yesterday in Rajpora village of Tral in which three militants were killed. In the beginning we had inputs that one among them was a local militant while the other two were foreigners. By night, the identification of all the militants was established and all of them turned out to be locals. They were associated with the Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind outfit. One among them was chief of the group, Hamid Lelhari, who took the charge of the outfit after the killing of Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa. The group was almost destroyed at that time but Lelhari motivated some more people to join the outfit. Other two militants, Naveed and Junaid, who were killed in yesterday’s operation, were also recrcuited by him. All the three militants were the residents of Awantipora belt of Pulwama. The group was working in close coordination with the Jaesh outfit as Jaesh is maintaining close ties with all the outfits operating in the valley. They received orders from Pakistan and their aim was to increase the disturbance and violence here”, he said.
“Three AK 56 riffles have been recovered from the militants. With the killing of these three, the area would get a sign of relief”, he said.
Singh said AGH has been wiped out. “As of now, I am telling you that AGH (Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind) has been wiped out, but they have the network of OGWs and among them, somebody, at times, rises up to the militancy ranks, with that regard it is difficult to say anything, but as of now it has been wiped out”, he said.
The DGP said that JeM is trying to coordinate with every outfit. “Jaish-e-Mohammad is trying to coordinate with every other group, because the Jaish and Lashkar get the directions from Pakistan on what sort of violence is to be perpetuated, who is to be targeted and what level of violence is to be maintained. In order to achieve that, these two groups try to be in sync with other groups”, he said.
“Two Gujjar brothers were killed in the same area some time ago and in that action a Pakistani militant namely Yasir of Jaish-e-Mohammad was involved. He was in constant touch with the group led by Hamid Lelhari. I think that the next target should be Yasir”, he said.
The DGP said that Lelhari was involved in several militancy related incidents in South Kashmir. “Lelhari signed for the militant’s ranks in 2016 and has been involved in several militant activities since then. He was involved in several attacks including the one in Kakapora, his home town. He was also involved in the killing of a civilian named Fayaz Ahmad in the area. He was active in the Kakapora belt and carried several attacks on both security forces and civilians. Recently he was involved in threatening and harassing the people. He was very active in Awantipora and Pulwama and has recruited many people”, he said.
“Junaid is the second militant from his family. His brother was also a militant and has been killed in an encounter last year. It is a matter of concern for us that two people from the same family joined the militancy and were killed”, he said.
Singh said that Pakistan is instigating the innocent youth to take up arms in the Valley. “Youth who have traded on the wrong path should leave the arms and move in the right direction. By picking up arms they are choosing death for themselves. All is not lost if they decide to come back. We will be only successful in doing so if youth stay away from arms. There were apprehensions among the people that large number of people will join militancy after August 5, but I am happy to share the number lesser than what used to be before. The frequency is lesser than what used to be earlier. Some 4-5 people are missing but we cannot confirm whether they have joined militancy or not. They may be missing due to some other reasons”, he said.
When asked about the rumours about suspension of mobile services, the DGP said that no such decision has been taken. “The mobile phone service was suspended keeping in view the situation and it was restored when the situation improved. You are aware of the fact that we proceeded in that way slowly and steadily. First, the landline service was restored and after that mobile voice calling was restored. I think that the situation should remain peaceful and at this point of time no such decision (of suspending the mobile services again) is under consideration”, he said.
Singh said that decrease in militancy in Kashmir is giving nightmares to Pakistan. “The decrease in militancy that is being witnessed as of now, is giving nightmares to Pakistan and that is why they are trying hard to push in militants and increase their numbers. Some have managed to creep in and many of their attempts have been foiled. Even as of now, the ceasefire violations are on in Rajouri-Poonch sector, Hiranagar-Samba, Karnah-Uri, Machil, Keran and Gurez sectors. Whenever they resort to ceasefire violations, they are actually attempting to push in militants”, he said.
“Still, there are militant launching pads active near LoC, their army and ISI is entirely involved in making sure that more and more militants are pushed in to the Indian side”, he said.
Singh said that they are ready for threats emanating from Pakistan. “It is quite difficult to anticipate everything beforehand; there are open threats from Pakistan including their Prime Minister who said that Pulwama like incidents can happen anytime here, he said so, because he knows that their militants are operating here. We are ready and we will not let anything of that sort happen again”, he said.
The DGP said that the number of militants is sizeable. “The number of militants active as now is sizeable, but it is not that big that we should be worried about it. The process in on, they send some number and we deplete some numbers, we are going to bring that number down”, he said.
“All the security arrangements for the conduct of BDC elections have been made and we are hopeful that the elections will be held in peaceful manner”, he said.
On Rasana case, the DGP said that since it has come from Court and the directions will be followed. “I think that it is not important that each and every FIR is based on facts. Sometimes there are motivations behind that, but here, the directions have come from the Court and obviously, it will be followed as per the directions of the Court. We investigate thousands of cases, we have 17000 cases registered every year and it does not mean that we pick up people and torture them. We will take action as per law and there is nothing to be worried about”, he said.
On examinations, Singh said: “The examinations are in the interest of students, in the interest of the parents of the students, we all want that the examination should take place smoothly and wherever the need arises, police are there to help them. We are not for the harassment of children, but we will certainly support them so that no body tries to instill fear in them. We will try to create a general environment of security and we want to tell the children that they should not let their year go waste and reach the venues of their examinations”.
The DGP said that the situation in Kashmir has improved. “The situation has improved and projection of the situation by the local media is appreciable. Portraying the situation based on the ground situation is good and professional. Coverage of the situation based on the ground realty is good. We also tried to talk considering the situation on the ground. Things which have no basis should not be discussed. Yesterday I visited Kupwara and people who have not visited the town should go and see the situation there. Owing to the public rush and heavy vehicular movement it’s very difficult to cross the main market of the town. Not only has shopkeepers showcased their items outside; the vendors also have setup stalls at various places. I was pleased to see people busy with shopping and trade. The situation is similar in Bandipora as well. I hope this wave of peace will now move towards south and reach Srinagar as well. In Srinagar heavy vehicular movement has caused traffic snarls at various places and the commercial activity has also picked up”, he said.
He, however, said that there were some incidents in South Kashmir where some innocents were killed. “There have been some unfortunate incidents wherein militants have killed innocent people in South Kashmir. A laborer was killed in Pulwama and apple trader was killed in Shopian. Apple trader was killed on the spot while as another laborer is undergoing treatment at SMHS. People took this issue very seriously and condemned it. Militants also faced opposition over the issue at several places. We too reviewed the security of these areas and strengthened it further. In addition, the militants who are active are creating hurdles for the people in running their daily affair or killing them. To counter these things the anti-militancy operations which were stopped for sometime due to the law and order problems have been intensified. The first operation was carried at Anantnag in which three militants were killed and yesterday’s was second”, he added.