Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo was buried around 100 kilometres from his village on Thursday, a day after he and an associate were killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The two local militants were buried in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district to avoid crowding and to ensure adherence to social distancing guidelines during the lockdown. It was not clear if Naikoo’s family members were present.
The 35-year-old top Hizbul leader and was killed in his village, Gulzarpora Beighpora, after a five-hour gunfight on Wednesday, in what security experts described as a big success for the Indian forces.
Strict restrictions imposed in Kashmir after the encounter continued for the second day with mobile internet and prepaid phone services suspended. Stone-pelters, provoked by messages on the social media, have clashed with forces after encounters targeting local militants in the past.
Over 16 people were injured in protests that ensued in south Kashmir after Naikoo’s death. Though there were reports that a person died due to his injuries, officials did not confirm any death.
Divulging what led to the successful operation, Jammu and Kashmir director general of police Dilbag Singh said the people who made an underground hideout close to the house of Naikoo led security forces to him.
“This hideout was close to his house and was inside the wall…the people who had constructed the hideout led us there. We have intruded their overground network,” he said.
”He released videos/audios on a number of occasions carrying pro-Pakistan and separatist propaganda and executed a series of attacks on policemen, security forces and civilians,” Singh said.