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Naikoo, Musa or Dujana – Who Was The Biggest Catch For The Indian Security Forces In Terror-Hit Kashmir?

Recently, the Indian security forces made a massive progress in sweeping militancy from Jammu and Kashmir after neutralizing top Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, Riyaz Naikoo.

A joint team of J&K Police and the Indian Army undertook the operation to apprehend Riyaz Naikoo in his native Beigpora Gulazapura in Pulwama. Carrying a reward of Rs. 12 lakh on his head, the former Mathematics teacher had played key roles in several murder cases of policemen in the valley.

After having dodged the security forces for 8 years, the HM commander was eventually eliminated by the Indian forces in joint operations.

Riyaz Naikoo was counted as one from the Burhan Wani group of Kashmiri militants. The terror outfit comprised Burhan Wani and his comrades – Sabzar Ahmed Bhat, Waseem Malla, Naseer Pandit, Ishfaq Hameed, Tariq Pandit, Afaqullah, Adil Khandey, Saddam Paddar, Wasim Shah etc. All of these poster boys of Kashmir militancy now stand eliminated.

Apart from Riyaz Naikoo, EurAsian Times compiles the list of five top militants killed in J&K by the Indian security forces in the past 2 years.


Zakir Musa

A Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Rashid Bhat or Zakir Musa was the founder of the Indian wing of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda terror organisation – Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.

Responsible for multiple attacks in the valley, Zakir Musa along with Riyaz Naikoo was one of the most wanted militants. Having been linked with the serial low-intensity blasts in Jalandhar in 2018, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) had announced him as a proclaimed offender.

Musa, the successor of Burhan Wani, had also requested the Kashmiri pundits to return to their homelands and offered them protection. Ironically, in 2017 Zakir Musa maintained that his key objective in Kashmir was Islamic rule when he warned to behead the Hurriyat leaders as they had called Kashmir conflict a political, instead of religious.

In May 2019, after an 11-hour long operation, Musa was killed in an encounter by the Indian armed forces in Dadsara Tral area of South Kashmir.

Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi

 A top commander of Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK), Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi alias ‘Abdulla bhai had sworn his adherence to the IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Belonging to the Sopore area in North Kashmir, the commander had been active in militancy activities in Kashmir since the young age of fifteen.

When asked about his objective in an interview that appeared in al-Risalah, the militant responded that “the goal is only one, rule of Allah on the land of Allah. Even if it happens with the last remaining drop of blood.”

Sofi was eliminated by the Indian security forces in an encounter in the Amshipora area of the Shopian district on May 10 the previous year.

Abu Dujana

Reported to be originally from Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Abu Dujana served as the head of LeT in the valley after the encounter of senior commander Abu Qasim in October 2015.

Believed to be responsible for any attacks including the Pampore attack where as many as 8 CRPF personnel were killed and, Dujana was an A+++ category militant.

Having evaded the police traps more than 12 times earlier, Dujana had made it the most wanted militants and carried a reward of Rs 12.5 lakh. In July 2018, Dujana was killed in an exchange of fire with the Indian armed forces in Pulwama.

The Indian authorities approached the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi to claim the body, however, in a twist of events, a family in south Kashmir rather claimed that the LeT militant was actually their lost son, but were unable to prove their claims.

Fayaz Panzoo

Panzoo alias Fayaz Ahmad Thokar alias Hanzulla Bai was a commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and was involved in the June 2019 attack on CRPF at Anantnag that killed the SHO Arshad Khan and 5 other CRPF personnel.

Panzoo was also the co-conspirator of the Pulwama suicide bombing terror attacks that took away the lives of 40 CRPF soldiers. The Indian security forces got hold of the militant soon after the encounter of Munna Lahori, another JeM commander in July 2019 at Anantnag’s Bijbehara area.

Asif Maqbool Bhat

A militant belonging to the LeT, Asif Maqbool Bhat was responsible for an attack on a fruit seller’s family for not closing their shop after Centre abrogated Article 370 in j&K.

The family that included four people and one baby girl suffered major injuries as the militants led by Asif opened fire at civilians in the Dangerpora area. The J&K Police called it a “merciless act of terrorism”. The J&K police later informed that the militant was killed in an encounter with security forces personnel in Sopore district.

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