On the run for eight years and wanted by the security forces, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Riyaz Naikoo was finally killed in fierce encounter with security forces. He was apparently trapped in a village in Kashmir’s Pulwama district, prompted authorities to suspend mobile internet services across the Valley.
Riyaz Naikoo, commander of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen was widely seen as a poster boy of terror taking over from Burhan Wani. Naikoo had in the past managed to slip out of the security forces grasp as many as three times in July 2016.
It may be recalled that Burhan was actively sought after by Indian security forces with a hefty bounty being imposed on his head.
He wielded massive popularity in the local populace through social media presence, and helped in conveying a more youth-oriented image of militancy in Kashmir, recruiting numerous foot-soldiers to the cause.
He was finally killed on 8 July 2016 in a military combat, sparking massive protests across the valley.