Pulwama encounter: J&K DGP says longest surviving LeT commander killed

(File/Representational Image)

Abid Bashir

Awantipore (NVI): In a big success for security forces in Kashmir, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba militant commander, who was also the longest surviving and his aide were killed in an encounter in Samboora, Pulwama yesterday, Director General of Police (DGP) J&K, Dilbagh Singh said today.

“The operation at Samboora, Pulwama started yesterday and due to the dark, search operation couldn’t take place. When search was started today morning, two militant bodies were recovered. One of the slain militants has been identified as Aijaz Ahmed Reshi, who was longest surviving militant commanders of Lashkar outfit. He was working as Over Ground Worker (OGW) in 2015 and joined militancy before slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani,” DGP Singh told reporters while addressing a press conference at District Police Lines (DPL) Awantipore, Pulwama.

He said Aijaz was a “dangerous militant” who carried out deadly attacks on security forces inflicting heavy casualities. “He took part in an attack at EDI Pampore in which eight CRPF men were killed. He had transported the Lashkar men to the spot as well. At Kadlabal, Pampore, he had fired at army party killing three soldiers. He had took part in series of attacks on security forces,” the DGP said.

He was the main recruiter for the Lashkar and had recruitment many youths especially Towseef Khanday, Rafiq Dar and Adil Ahmed, all slain Lashkar militants. “Aijaz was killed along with other local militant Sajad Ahmed Sofi who was recruited by Aijaz and trained by him only,” the DGP said.

He said that two AK-47 riffles, two magazines, some rounds, and incriminating material was recovered from the slain militants. “The killing of Aijaz Reshi is a big success for security forces and there will be a dip in the local militant recruitment where he was operating,” the DGP Singh said. He complimented the 50 RR and 110 battalion unit of CRPF who were part of the operation at Samboora.

To a query on local militancy recruitment in South Kashmir, the DGP said that the graph is low compared to previous years. “In the past 15 days, three youth were brought back. And this year so far, 24 youth who had left homes and joined militancy, were brought back with the active cooperation of their parents,” DGP Singh said.