Top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen terror group Riaz Naikoo has been gunned down in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district, according to a news agency report.
Riyaz Naikoo took over as the commander of Hizbul Mujahideen after the outfit’s poster boy and commander Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Kokernag area in Anantnag district on July 8, 2016.
Naikoo carries a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head. Before joining the militant ranks, Naikoo worked as a mathematics teacher at a local school. He was known to have passion for painting roses before he picked up the gun at the age of 33.
Naikoo had been trapped in his native Beighpora village since Tuesday night and the operation ended following his killing by the security forces.
Anticipating a law and order problem, mobile internet services were suspended and strict restrictions imposed on the movement of people.
Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the local police had launched a joint operation after receiving credible information that the top Hizbul Mujahideen commander had come to visit his home in Beighpora village. They had sealed all entry and exit points of the village.
Earlier in the day, the security forces gunned down two unidentified militants in a separate encounter in Sharshali village of Pulwama following information about the presence of militants there, the officials said.
Security forces hold Naikoo responsible for holding the Hizbul together after its possible disintegration when Zakir Musa broke away from the Hizbul ranks to form his own splinter group.