Srinagar: After chasing him for over six months, police finally managed to neutralise Hizb top commander Riyaz Naikoo in his native village in South Kashmir.
This was stated by Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar here today.
Naikoo, a resident of Beighpora Awantipora, was killed along with his associate Adil Ahmad Bhat on Wednesday triggering clashes while authorities snapped mobile internet and calling facility across Kashmir Valley.
Two dozen protesters were injured as they tried to break cordon and help Naikoo escape, according to the local reports. IGP admitted some of the protestors sustained bullet injuries. But he said, situation was under control and all the injured were stable.
“There was massive stone-pelting in and around the encounter site. Protesters damaged two of our vehicles,” Kumar said while divulging information about the encounter that led to the killing of Hizb commander.
He said from past six months, Jammu Kashmir Police was after Riyaz Naikoo. “The basic task of police is to generate human and technical intelligence. Our DIG Atul and his team were chasing Naikoo for a long time but from past week, when we suffered some setback in North Kashmir, the team got more involved in tracking the movements of Naikoo.”
“Every movement of Naikoo was being tracked. Some of the policemen slept for only one or two hours. During our hunt for Naikoo, we managed to bust at least six hideouts, used by Riyaz Naikoo. We tracked the movements of Naikoo and his sympathizers. We arrested and interrogated some of the OGW’s and got important information.”
Though it is not known how Naikoo was at home even after police hunt for him had intensified, media reports suggest he was visiting his ailing mother.
Naikoo’s mother was recently discharged from a Srinagar hospital, where she was treated for an unspecified illness, according to these reports.
“Since then, the vigil around the village was intensified. He had probably come to pay a visit at his home and that blew his veil of secrecy,” one report quoting unnamed sources said.
IGP Kashmir said that first day when police cordoned off the area where Naikoo was hiding, they didn’t find anything. “We were sure that Naikoo is here and thus didn’t lift the cordon. We called army and troopers. Next day, when we started search operation again, militants fired on us and we retaliated and killed the Commander,” he said.
Kumar said that he won’t shy away from the fact that Naikoo had a grip on the militant ranks and his influence on the youth was immense. “Through his power of influence, he was recruiting youth to militancy. Now that he is dead, the recruitment process will come down.”
Kumar said that Naikoo was frequently releasing videos, motivating youth to join militancy, threatening and intimidating people and police. “He was involved in many killings. Narcotic trade was the main source of his income. His killing will give relief to a large number of people,” he said.
Kumar made it clear that police won’t hand over the bodies of militants or any civilian to families, till the Coronavirus threat is over. “We admitted that the civilian killed in Handwara was innocent. We motivated his family and buried him in Baramulla in presence of his parents. There were apprehensions that a large number of people will participate in his funeral if we hand over the body to family. Till Coronavirus crisis is not over, we won’t handover the bodies of militants to families,” he said adding that cellular and internet service will be restored once they have complete control over the situation.
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