Azad Lalhari
Azad Lalhari

Top Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Azad Lalhari was killed on Wednesday in an encounter with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district, police said.

"In the initial firing, two soldiers were injured. One of the injured succumbed to his injuries at the Army's Base Hospital in Srinagar," police said

Police said Lalhari was killed in the joint operation by police, Army and the CRPF in Kamrazipora village. Later, the body recovered from the encounter site was identified as that of Lalhari, police added.

Lalhari had succeeded Riyaz Naikoo as Hizb chief commander 

Pulwama encounter
The identities and affiliations of the militants are yet to be ascertained. (Representational Image)

Lalhari had succeeded Riyaz Naikoo as the chief commander of HM and was the most- wanted local terrorist in Kashmir, police sources said.

DGP Dilbag Singh said that six FIRs were lodged against Lalhari for killings by terrorists. "He was involved in the killing of Head Constable Anoop Singh in Pulwama town on May 22 when he fired at a naka party," the DGP said.

The police chief said Lalhari had started as an overground worker of the Hizbul, for which he was detained under the Public Safety Act. After serving his PSA detention, he had joined the Hizbul ranks.

Search operation launched in Kamrazipora

"Security forces had launched a search operation in an orchard in Kamrazipora village of Pulwama in the early hours of the day on receiving information about the presence of terrorists there," as per reports. 

It further reported that the officials said the search operation turned into an encounter after terrorists opened fire on the personnel, injuring two soldiers. The injured were rushed to an Army hospital, where one of them succumbed, officials said.

One AK along with grenades, pouches and other war-like stores were recovered, as per a statement from the Northern Command. The joint operation, which was launched yesterday by Jammu and Kashmir Police and Indian Army in Budgam, is under progress, Chinar Corps of the Indian Army said.