For the fourth time since Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Moosa formed Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind in Kashmir in 2017, all active insurgents of the Islamist group were slain in two encounters in two Jammu and Kashmir districts.
With the killing of seven members of Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind in two different military operations in the Shopian and Pulwama districts of South Kashmir, the outfit has been wiped out in Kashmir, top police officials said on Friday.
The encounter at Shopian started on Thursday evening and ended on Friday with the killing of five militants. Two militants, including the Chief of AGuH Imtiyaz Shah, were killed in a second operation at Tral in Pulwama district on Friday.
Police sources said both the operations at Shopian and Tral in South Kashmir are over now.
A large number of arms and ammunition, including seven AK rifles and two pistols, have been recovered from the slain.
“Both the ongoing operations at Shopian and Tral are over. Five militants in the first and two in the second operation were killed. Both the groups are from the same outfit.
“Seven AK and two pistols recovered.
“With these two encounters Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind has been fully wiped out once again,” Dilbag Singh, Director General of Police, J&K said.
But this is not the first time since all active members of the pro-Caliphate group have been slain.
Action against the AGuH began early in May 2017, when three of its members – Zahid Ahmad Bhat, Ishaq Ahmed and Muhammad Ashraf Dar – were killed in the Gulab Bagh area in Tral. In March 2018, two more members – Owais Nabi and Shabir Ahmad – were killed at Balhama village. They had attacked a cop guarding a local BJP leader.
The group had another setback on November 28, 2018, when Shakir Hassan Dar died during a gunfight. Dar joined the Hizbul Mujahideen in April 2015, but like Musa, he too broke ranks and moved to the AGuH.
Less than a month later, Indian forces killed six more of their colleagues – including Musa’s deputy Sualiha Akhoon – in an operation in Arampora, Tral.
By 2019, the AGuH had fewer than five men on board. Earlier in 2020, AGuH recruited Naveed Hassan Tak from Batpora, Pulwama. Tak was a friend of Burhan Koka, a leading member of the AGuH who is likely to have drawn Tak into the fold.