New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Avenging the martyrdom of Indian bravehearts who lost their lives in an encounter with terrorists on May 3, the security forces along with Jammu and Kashmir police on Wednesday gunned down top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo along with his associate in Kashmir’s Pulwama district.  

Also Read: Top Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo killed in encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama

Kashmir’s most wanted militant commander Riyaz Naikoo was killed in an encounter at his native village in Beigpora in South Kashmir’s Awantipora after massive search operation was laid late Tuesday night by a joint team of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF. Naikoo had been trapped in Beighpora village since Tuesday night and the operation ended following his killing by the security forces.

The operation to nab the senior most active militant commander in Kashmir Riyaz Naikoo is seen as a big win for security agencies.

Who was Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Riyaz Naikoo?

Riyaz Naikoo, 35-years-old, was the among the oldest surviving members of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists group, and the local face of Kashmir militancy. He was a top rated terrorist and carried a bounty of Rs 12 Lakh on his head.  

Naikoo was a resident of Awantipora district and was wanted in many incidents of killing security personnel. 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 Kokarnag area in Anantnag district on July 8, 2016. The tech-savvy Naikoo, like Burhan Wani, turned to social media to communicate to the people.

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. 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.

Riyaz Naikoo rose to fame after 2016, when he visited the funeral of another militant killed in encounter, Shariq Ahmad Bhat, with Kalashnikov rifles in hands. He made his way to his Bhat’s body and fired several rounds in air. The incident was seen as a revival of tradition of paying tributes to slain militants in Kashmir.   

At several occasions Naikoo was trapped by the security forces, but he managed to escape every time. The security forces even tracked Naikoo’s love liaisons, but each time a trap was laid, Naikoo manged to slip away. Riyaz Naikoo once deceived a top officer by saying that he would surrender in 2018, but he never did.

Naikoo this year recruited more than a dozen youth in Hizbul Mujahideen. In a video in 2017, Riyaz Naikoo had said he would welcome the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley. Naikoo said militants were not enemies of Kashmir Pandits.

Posted By: Talib Khan