İrem UZUN -TDO- Kashmir’s most wanted terrorist Riyaz Naikoo, operational commander of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed in an operation Wednesday in Pulwama district. Sources in the security establishment confirmed Naikoo’s killing. With Naikoo, two other militants were killed in a separate encounter. The encounter came nearly two days after the forces launched a cordon and search operation Monday in Beighpora, the Pulwama village which Naikoo belonged to. Naikoo's death is being seen as a major victory for India's counterinsurgency efforts and is likely to spark more unrest in the disputed region.
According to security agencies, there are 242 terrorists active in Jammu and Kashmir, and 104 of them are from Pakistan. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is striving hard to pressurize the currently active terrorist actions to attack on Indian security. Riyaz Naikoo became the de facto chief of Hizbul Mujahideen after the death of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of militancy in the Valley, in July 2016.
Tensions have been high since August after New Delhi scrapped the region’s semi autonomous status and imposed a total security and communication blackout. Fixed lines, mobile and Internet services were cut before being gradually restored, although 4G mobile data has not been reinstated yet. At least 57 militants have been killed in Kashmir this year, according to the Arab News.