Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Saifullah, who was allegedly involved in the recent killings of the local BJP youth leader, was eliminated in an encounter on the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday. Besides, a suspect has been taken into custody and is being questioned.
“This is a huge success for the police and security forces. This is not a small achievement,” Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar told reporters at the encounter site.
The Security forces had received information that Saifullah had come to Srinagar and was hiding in a house. Accordingly, the forces conducted a search operation in the Rangreth area which resulted in a gunbattle. Initially the operation was launched jointly by J-K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) but later when the fighting broke out, a column of Army’s 53 Rashtriya Rifles also joined it. Incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, was recovered from the encounter site.
The slain militant, Saif-ul-Islam Mir, was a resident of Malangpora of south Kashmir, who was known among the militant ranks by pseudonyms of Dr. Saifullah and Ghazi Haider. He had taken over as the commander of Hizb after its ‘operation commander’ Riyaz Naikoo was killed along with his aide in a gunfight with security forces in Pulwama district on May 6 this year. Saifullah was one of the most wanted militants in the Kashmir Valley and his termination is being considered as a huge success for the Police and Security forces.
The police claimed that the slain militant commander was involved in many “terror crimes and civilian atrocities” besides being instrumental in recruiting local youth into militant folds.The police chief claimed that Saifullah was also behind the killing of a local BJP youth leader Fida Hussain and his two associates Umar Ramzan Hajam and Umer Rashid Beigh in southern Kulgam’s Yaripora village earlier this week.