One of the most dreaded terrorists of the Kashmir Valley, Riyaz Naikoo was neutralised in an encounter with the security forces. Naikoo, who is the commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, has been cornered in his native village near Jammu and Kashmir's Beighpora. A joint team of Army and Jammu and Kashmir is conducting a search and cordon operation since Tuesday night on a specific input. Further, two terrorists were eliminated by security forces in Sarshali in Awantipora, which is still underway.

In a tweet, J&K Police informed, "Contact established in the third operation at #Beighpors #Awantipur. The top terrorist commander is trapped. Exchange of fire on. Details shall follow." There are speculations that Naikoo has been eliminated in today's operation but any official word is yet to come.

Riyaz Naikoo
Top Hizbul Commander Riyaz Naikoo

Why is Riyaz Naikoo wanted by security forces in Kashmir?

Naikoo, a top-rated military commander having a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head is one of the oldest members of the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. He took over as the commander of Hizbul after its poster boy and erstwhile commander Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight with the security forces in the Kokarnag area in Anantnag district in 2016. Notably, before joining the terrorist ranks, Naikoo was a teacher of Mathematics and has a passion for painting.

Soldiers of the Indian Army

Naikoo made his first public appearance in January 2016 during the funeral procession of Shariq Ahmad Bhat another local militant, who was gunned down by security forces. In a symbolic gesture to salute the slain militant, Naikoo had fired shots with AK-47. The development had drawn the attention of security establishment and if today's operation becomes successful today it would be a great achievement for the security forces.