Hizbul Chief Naikoo Killed After Hours-Long Encounter in Pulwama
Riyaz Naikoo, who had held Hizbul together after Zakir Musa’s exit, carries a reward of Rs 12 lakh.
Top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo was killed on Wednesday, 6 May, after a massive operation was launched by the security forces to trap him in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, officials told PTI.
The encounter, which started late on Tuesday, 5 May, night continued till Wednesday afternoon. Mobile internet services in Kashmir were snapped on Wednesday, 6 May, morning, said PTI.
A report in IANS said Riyaz Naikoo had come to his native home in Pulwama’s Beighpora village when the security forces including the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the local police, moved in quickly to seal all entry and exit points of the village.
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said the joint troops recovered bodies of four terrorists, among them one has been identified as Hizbul Commander Riyaz Naikoo.
Who is Riyaz Naikoo?
Riyaz Naikoo, a former Math teacher in a local school, had a price of Rs 12 lakh on his head.
After the most popular face of Hizbul Mujahideen, Burhan Wani, was killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Kokarnag area of Anantnag on 8 July 2016. Zakir Musa had held the post of the outfit’s commander. But when Musa defected to form his own outfit, Riyaz Naikoo is said to be the one responsible for holding the Hizbul Mujahideen together.
Musa split from the Hizbul in 2017 and formed his own group called Ansar Ghazwatul Hind, that claimed to be the Indian affiliate of the Al-Qaeda.
Musa was killed in Dadsara area in Tral tehsil in an encounter with the security forces on 23 May 2019.
Meanwhile, two other militants were killed in a separate encounter in Sharshali Khrew area of Awantipora where the encounter began late on Tuesday night.
There has been a rise in anti-militancy operations in the Valley since last month, according to a report by The Indian Express.
There have been two attacks on CRPF troops in Handwara region in the past week. On Sunday, 3 May, four Indian Army personnel, including a Commanding Officer of 21 Rashtriya Rifles unit, a Major, two soldiers and one Jammu and Kashmir policeman were killed in an encounter. Two terrorists were also killed by the forces.
On Monday, 4 May, at least three CRPF personnel and one civilian were killed while seven others were injured in a terrorist attack in Handwara’s Wangam.
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