Wanted Hizbul terrorist Riyaz Naikoo killed in Kashmir
In a major breakthrough, security forces on Wednesday killed Hizbul Mujahideen's top commander Riyaz Naikoo in an encounter in South Kashmir's Awantipora area. Another terrorist was also eliminated in the operation that lasted for hours. Naikoo had a bounty of Rs. 12 lakh on him and his death will serve as a major blow to Pakistan-sponsored militancy in the Valley. Here's more.
A joint team of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Army's 55 Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF led the operation. They launched a search operation late last night after being tipped-off about the terrorists' presence in Beigpora area. Naikoo was killed days after an operation in Handwara, in which soldiers, including Col Ashutosh Sharma, Major Anuj Sood, Naik Rajesh Kumar, and Lance Naik Dinesh Singh, were martyred.
A resident of Awantipora, Naikoo was born in 1985 and joined militancy at the age of 33. He used to teach mathematics at a private school. Naikoo was the chief of Hizbul in the Valley, and categorized as A++ in the security forces' list. A dreaded terrorist, he had released several videos warning security forces to not meddle in militancy operations.
Naikoo grew in militancy ranks after the death of Burhan Wani, the Hizbul chief who was gunned down in an encounter in 2016. The two were spotted in some pictures together. In 2016, Naikoo made it to headlines by arriving at the funeral of another terrorist Shariq Ahmad Bhat. Carrying Kalashnikov rifles, he fired shots in the air. He repeated the gesture several times.
Security forces had been trying to nab Naikoo since 2018 but he managed to slip away several times. Once, the forces tracked down his lover for whom Naikoo had written: "You remind me of the chinar tree". This time around he was apprehended while he was visiting his elderly parents during the ongoing Ramzan. The intel was "very specific".
After the success, Colonel Aman Anand reportedly said, "Army won't confirm the names of the terrorists killed. The security forces are the heroes who eliminated 4 terrorists in 24 hours. We shall not glorify the terrorists by releasing their names. They are just terrorists."
Separately, two terrorists were killed in another encounter in the Sharshali Khrew area of Awantipora. This operation began at 1 am. There has been a sudden increase in militancy in the last couple of weeks, just as India is battling coronavirus pandemic. Not long ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed Pakistan, without naming it, by saying some countries shield a virus called terrorism.