The killing of Ayoub Lelhari has meant a colossal loss for the militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Ayoub who was a ‘diehard’ commander was a top strategist for the outfit.
Those who know Ayoub say that he was a strategist and an organizer for Lashkar-e-Toiba. He not only used to guide the new recruits by acclimatizing them with the local ground situation, but was also instrumental in helping them master the art of camouflage techniques.
Few days back, Ayoub had suffered a leg injury at Samboora village after escaping army cordon.
“Most of his associates used to call him cordon breaker,” said one of his acquaintances, who wishes not to be named.
It was on 14th April this year that he came to his home and sought permission from his family members to become one of the ‘core members’ of Lashkar-e-Toiba in Kashmir. He was given the code name, Hebatullah.
Lelhari, according to reports was injured and was trying to move out of Pulwama area to get himself treated.
“He was injured while escaping a cordon in Samboora area,” reports said.
Ayoub was travelling in a vehicle towards Awantipora to seek treatment for his injured leg at some undisclosed place before he was killed at Banderpora. The relatives of the slain militant said that Ayoub’s dead body was severely mutilated.
“His back and arm muscles were stripped,” said one of the relative.
The killing of Ayoub is viewed as a big achievement by Police.
The slain commander was today buried at Lelhara, his native village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district as per his last will which he had confided to his family members and close relatives.
The last will of the slain militant was read out in front of thousands of people who had assembled at the village to participate in his funeral.
Around three rounds of funerals were held for the slain militant. The first two rounds of funerals were normally held but the third one was funeral in absentia which is held after burial of dead body.
As per the minutes of Ayoub’s last will, his elder brother, Riyaz Ahmad Lone led first round of his funeral prayers and the second round was led by a local clergyman.
Notably, Ayoub had desired that separatist leader, Masrat Aalam should lead his funeral prayers. He wished that in case the incarcerated Hurriyat leader would be unavailable, then his elder brother should lead the first round of his funeral prayers.
The slain militant had left his last will that his grave should not be marked with any stone or an epithet. he also wished that his death should be mourned for only three days.
Ayoub, 26, who had schooling up to 12th class, was a driver by profession. The family members of the slain militant said their son was living a happy life until a youth was arrested in Budgam, who named Ayoub as a militant sympathizer.
“Soon after Jammu and Kashmir police and Indian army started harassing and torturing him, said Riyaz Ahmad,” the elder brother of the slain militant, adding that he was detained under draconian law, public safety act (PSA) for four months in 2012-13.
“He had survived a severe torture, his arm was fractured,” the brother recalled, adding that police took him under illegal detention for one more month after his PSA was quashed by the high court of Jammu and Kashmir.
The family members said that police had registered around 50 first information reports against him.
“After getting released his conviction to become a militant became firm,” the relatives said, adding that he took his family into confidence and informed them that he is becoming a militant.