One of the top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Riyaz Naikoo, and two others were killed on Wednesday after a massive anti-terror operation launched by the security forces. The hour-long operation was specially conducted in order to trap him in J&K’s Pulwama as informed by the PTI.
The encounter commenced on Tuesday night and continued till the next day afternoon. Amid this operation, in order to maintain peace and avoid false news surfing social media, the internet was taken down for a day in Kashmir.
A police officer in an interview with The Tribune said, “As forces entered the suspected hideouts, militants fired upon forces which were retaliated, triggering an encounter.”
How did the operation start?
A report in IANS states that Riyaz Naikoo was in Pulwama’s Beighpora village, his hometown. He had come there to visit his family when the security forces including the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF), and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the local police, moved in quickly and sealed the entire village’s entry and exit.
Who was Riyaz Naikoo?
Naikoo, 35, and a resident of Awantipora district was the valley’s most wanted terrorist and had a bounty of 12 lakhs on his head for the past 8 years. Before being the commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, he was a math teacher. Naiko was amongst the oldest surviving members of Hizbul to have a grade of (A++ category) designation under terrorists.
In the year 2016, Naikoo first came in the limelight, carrying Kalashnikov rifles in the funeral procession of Shariq Ahmad Bhatt, another terrorist to be killed in an encounter. Naikoo fearlessly made his way towards Bhatt’s body and fired several air-shots in open. After that incident, he was seen at the funerals of many militants.
He had a vast knowledge of technology and used it to manipulate young Kashmiri men to join militancy in Kashmir. According to the police, Naikoo was the most wanted terrorist after Burhan Wani and is also said to be involved in the killing of special police officers. He had also threatened several police officers of J&K so that they resign.