Ground Report | Srinagar
Security forces on Wednesday killed the operation commander of a militant group in Kashmir, eliminating a leading figure in the long-running active militant in Kashmir. Riyaz Naikoo, the leader of the Hizb ul-Mujahideen, was killed in a joint operation by security forces.
Naikoo and his associate were killed on May 6 in an encounter in Beighpora village of Awantipora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. His elimination is a major blow to the local terror groups active in the area. He became a militant in May 2012 and was a close associate of former Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Burhan Wani. Riyaz Naikoo became the chief of Hizbul Mujahideen after the death of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of militancy in the Valley, in July 2016.
Here’s a list of top militants killed by security forces in Kashmir.
Burhan Muzaffar Wani
Burhan Wani, who was the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen group in the Kashmir Valley, was killed in an encounter with security forces in Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on July 8, 2016.
Burhan was actively sought after by security forces with a hefty bounty being imposed on his head, and was finally killed on 8 July 2016 in a military combat, sparking massive protests across the valley. The span was witness to the worst span of insurgency in the region since 2010, Kashmir was placed under 53 consecutive days of curfew, which was only completely lifted on 31 August 2016. In entirety, the protests resulted in the deaths of more than 96 people and injuries to over 15,000 civilians and 4,000 security personnel.
Zakir Rashid Bhat
Zakir Rashid Bhat known as Zakir Musa, former Hizbul Mujahideen commander and Ansar Ghazwat-ul Hind chief and a A++ militant, was killed in an encounter in Dadsara Tral area on May 23, 2019.
Zakir Musa was a former Hizbul Mujahideen commander (2013–17), and founder of an Indian wing of Al-Qaeda called Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind in 2017. Musa split with the political objectives of the Hizbul Mujahideen for Kashmir, in favour of Al-Qaeda’s religious objectives of imposing Shariah in the region.
Jaish-e-Mohammed Commander Fayaz Panzoo was Killed in Anantnag encounter along with his associates on July 30, 2019. He was involved in attack on Central Reserve Police Force at Anantnag town on June 12, 2019, in which five CRPF personnel were killed and Station House Officer Arshad Khan was seriously injured who later succumbed to injured.
Hameed Lelhari, who was Zakir Musa’s successor and chief of Kashmir’s al-Qaeda unit, was gunned down by the security forces in an encounter at Jammu and Kashmir’s Awantipora on October 22, 2019.
Al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) had named Hameed Lelhari as its new commander after Zakir Musa’s death in May, 2019.
Top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Osama, who was wanted in connection with the assassination of a senior BJP leader and an RSS functionary, was killed along with two other militants in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on September 28, 2019
Osama was allegedly the mastermind behind the killings of several heavyweights and was carrying a reward of several lakhs of rupees. According to reports, apart from many a weapon-snatching incident in Kishtwar, he was wanted in the murder cases of senior BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar (November 1, last year), RSS leader Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO (April 9).
Pakistani national Munna Lahori, a top commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), was killed in a joint operation of Jammu and Kashmir Police and Indian Army on July 27, 2019.
Lahori, also known as Bihari, had been used by Pakistan-based JeM militant group for the recruitment of militants.
Top JeM Commander Khalid Bhai was killed with Naseer Pandith of Karmibad Pulwama and Umar Mir of Shopian in an encounter at Dalipora village, in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on May 17, 2019. Khalid was operational commander of the Pakistan-based militant group.
The killed militant Khalid alias Khalid Bhai, the Jaish chief in Kashmir who was behind all the recent fidayeen attacks.
Abu Dujana, the most wanted Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, was killed with another militant in an encounter in Pulwama district of south Kashmir in July 2018.
Abu Dujana was an Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind militant, former Lashkar-e-Taiba commander and Pakistani national who was killed in a joint anti-militant operation in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir. Dujana was Lashkar-e-Taiba’s chief commander for the Kashmir Valley. He was listed among the most-wanted in Jammu and Kashmir for several attacks on security forces. He was an A+++ category militant and carried a reward of ₹1,500,000 (US$21,000) on his head.
Dujana was the mastermind behind several attacks in the south Kashmir, including one on a CRPF convoy at Pampore and another at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India in the Sempora area in 2016.
JeM chief Qari Yasir along with two militants was killed in an encounter with security forces in the Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on January 25, 2020. Qari Yasir, who was involved in last year’s Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel died.
Abu Saifullah alias Abu Qasim, top militant commander Abu Saifullah alias Abu Qasim, an associate of Yasir, was killed in the Khrew area of Pulwama district on January 23, 2020.