Home >News >India >Hizbul Mujahideen chief Riyaz Naikoo killed in encounter in Kashmir
File photo: PTI
File photo: PTI

Hizbul Mujahideen chief Riyaz Naikoo killed in encounter in Kashmir

  • On Tuesday night, security forces in Kashmir had launched a massive cordon and search operation (CASO) in Pulwama
  • Indian army’s Rashtriya Rifles, the J&K police’s Special Operations Group and the CRPF were part of this encounter

Security forces in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday killed top Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist and the state's commander, Riyaz Naikoo, in the valley's Pulwama district.

The death of Naikoo, who was one of Kashmir's most wanted, deals a major blow to the terror outfit, which had earlier been shaken after the fall of its commander Burhan Wani, in 2016, during an encounter with security forces in Pulwama.

On Tuesday night, security forces in Kashmir had launched a massive cordon and search operation (CASO) in Pulwama district’s Awantipora, after receiving a tip-off. The Hizbul commander had been trapped in his native village in the valley.

In another encounter, an unidentified terrorist was gunned down by security forces in Sharshali in Pulwama district’s Khrew area.

The overnight operation by the security forces comprising the Indian army’s Rashtriya Rifles, the Jammu and Kashmir police’s Special Operations Group and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), was launched in Beighpora, following which the forces sealed all entry and exit points to the village.

However, an exchange of fire soon began as the forces closed identified Naikoo’s location.

Naikoo, 33, became a prominent militant after the death of Burhan Wani. He carries a reward of 12 lakh on his head. Naikoo had been categorised as an A++ militant in the security forces’ list of top commanding terrorists.

“Naikoo has promoted Pakistani propaganda and is a supporter of Pakistan in the valley. He has involvement in several murder cases, including murder of policemen. Naikoo has released several videos and audios threatening informers and local police men to stay away from militancy operations. Naikoo is reported to have massive support of Over Ground Workers (OGWs)," a security force dossier says. The dossier has been reviewed by Mint.

Intelligence officials and security forces in the valley, however, believe the victory is only temporary.

“Naikoo’s elimination is a minor blip in the Hizbul radar. Each outfit has the next commander groomed and ready to take over because they know that the current commander can be killed anytime. Like Burhan Wani, Naikoo’s elimination will only hurt the outfit till the next commander has gained prominence over the next few weeks," said a senior intelligence official from Kashmir.

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