Indian troops martyr militant commander in IOK

Indian troops martyr militant commander in IOK

HELD SRINAGAR: Indian troops martyred four militants in gunbattles in Kashmir on Wednesday, including commander of the biggest separatist group fighting New Delhi in the disputed Himalayan region, a police official said.

Hundreds of Indian soldiers launched an operation late on Tuesday after receiving intelligence that Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo was hiding in a village in south Kashmir’sPulwama district, a British wire service reported.

Authorities also disabled mobile internet across the Occupied Kashmir early on Wednesday to forestall large crowds from gathering in the streets to mourn his martyrdom. “He was trapped in a house and early today a gun battle took place during which he and his associate were killed,” IOK’s Inspector General of Police, Vijay Kumar, told Reuters.

Two freedom fighters were martyred in another gun battle nearby on Wednesday, Kumar added. For decades, separatists have fought an armed conflict against Indian rule in Kashmir, with the majority of them wanting independence for the Himalayan region, or to join New Delhi’s arch rival Pakistan.

Naikoo, 35, had joined the militants in 2012, two years after around 100 people were killed by troops during a restive summer marked by protests and violence. A former maths teacher with a bounty of 1.2 million rupees (PKR2.5 million) on his head, Naikoo was an aide to Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani who was martyred in July 2016, leading to months of unrest.

Amid a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Indian troops have intensified operations in the Occupied Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority state that was split into two federally administered territories last August.

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