In a major anti-terrorism operation in the Valley, Jammu and Kashmir's most wanted terrorist and Hizbul chief Riyaz Naikoo has been reportedly neutralised in an encounter by the security forces at Beigpora in Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir. However, an official confirmation on the matter is awaited.

Total two terrorists have been neutralised in Operation Sharshali. One terrorist was eliminated in the encounter which began at the Sharshali Khrew area of Awantipora on May 5. Weapons and warlike stores have been recovered from them.

Meanwhile, police and security forces are carrying out the operation, which is still underway.

Meanwhile, J&K Police took to Twitter to share an update: "Contact established in the third operation at #Beighpors #Awantipur. Top terrorist commander is trapped. Exchange of fire on. Details shall follow."

Riyaz Naikoo

The overnight operation by the security forces started on Tuesday evening, May 5 when a massive search operation was launched in the native village of Naikoo.

Sources had told that after receiving credible information that the top Hizbul Mujahideen commander had come to visit his home in Beighpora village the joint op by the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the local police, moved in quickly to seal all entry and exit points of the village.

'Operations still underway at Beigpora Awantipur': J&K Police

Debunking reports of Riyaz Naikoo's encounter, J&K Police tweeted, "Operation at Beigpora Awantipur is going on. Any Speculative reporting unconfirmed stuff having law and order bearings is highly irresponsible on the part of some channels. They are advised to hold their guns please."

Who was Riyaz Naikoo? 

Jammu kashmir encounter
Security forces have recovered two AK rifles, an SLR and a pistol from the encounter site.Reuters
  • 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.
  • Before joining the militant ranks, Naikoo worked as a mathematics teacher at a local school. He was known to have a 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.
  • Musa split from the Hizbul in 2017 and formed his own group called Ansar Ghazwatul Hind that claimed to be the Indian affiliate of the Al-Qaeda.
  • Musa was killed in Dadsara area in Tral tehsil in an encounter with the security forces on May 23, 2019.

(With inputs from IANS)