Top Kashmir militant, Riyaz Naikoo, killed by Indian forces - GulfToday

Top Kashmir militant, Riyaz Naikoo, killed by Indian forces


A security personnel stands guard near the site of a gunbattle. AFP

Gulf Today Report

Indian government forces on Wednesday killed the leader of the largest Kashmiri militant group, Riyaz Naikoo fighting for independence.

Riyaz Naikoo, 35, the head of Hizbul Mujahideen in Indian-administered Kashmir, died when soldiers blew up two houses in Beighpora in the valley's south, Kashmir police chief Vijay Kumar said.

His death was confirmed by Indian national government ministers in New Delhi.

Soldiers and counter-insurgency police were conducting house-to-house searches late on Tuesday when they zeroed in on two homes where the top rebel leader was thought to be hiding, triggering an exchange of fire early Wednesday.

army-kashmir Security personnel stand guard as people walk by near the site of a gunbattle.

Fearing protests and an outbreak of violence as news spread that Naikoo was trapped, authorities on Wednesday cut mobile internet and messaging services in Kashmir.

All private mobile networks except the state-run cell operator were suspended.

Hundreds of locals clashed with police after they were stopped from marching towards his home village.

Fifteen people were injured in the clashes that continued well into the late evening. One of the protesters, who sustained a bullet wound, was taken to hospital, a police said.

A local curfew was imposed in the area.

india-Kashmir Kashmiri protests after the abrogation of Article 35A. 

Two other suspected militants were also killed in a separate shootout on Wednesday not far from Naikoo's home, army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said in a brief statement.

Naikoo's death came amid an intensification of counte-rinsurgency efforts by Indian government forces against the rebels in recent months. India has more than 500,000 troops in the region.

Tensions have been high since August after New Delhi scrapped the region's semi-autonomous status and imposed a total security and communication blackout.

Fixed lines, mobiles and internet services were cut before being gradually restored, although 4G mobile data has not been reinstated.

At least 57 militants have been killed in Kashmir this year, according to an AFP tally.

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