STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) chief Saifullah Islam Mir was killed in an encounter on the outskirts of the city on Sunday, police said, describing it as a huge success for the security forces.
Mir, 31, also known as Dr Saifullah and Gazi Haider, had taken command of the outfit after the killing of his predecessor Riyaz Naikoo in May this year.
He was one of the most wanted militants in the Kashmir Valley and nvolved in several attacks on the security forces, an official said.
‘Huge success’, says DGP
Addressing a press conference here, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said Mir, a resident of Malangpora village in Pulwama district, was active since October 2014 and was associated with slain HM commander Burhan Wani for a long time.
His killing is a huge success for the security forces, Singh added.
We had a successful operation today in which a top commander (Saifullah), you can say he was the number one commander of the HM, was killed. Several families will heave a sigh a relief as he was involved in killing of many people. He was active since October 2014 and was associated with Burhan Wani for a long time, Singh said.
He said Mir was one of the dreaded militants even before taking the command of the outfit.
He had killed many innocent people including three policemen. He was behind the killing of two truck drivers immediately after the abrogation of Article 370. He attacked a Sarpanch in Kulgam recently but he survived the attack.
He also had a hand in the killing of three BJP workers in Kulgam earlier this week. He is involved in over a dozen terror cases and has killed over half-a-dozen people. He was also involved in harming several people and destroying government property, as well as involved in several grenade attacks, the DGP said.
The police chief said the security agencies were tracking the HM commander’s movement from south Kashmir towards Srinagar for the last two days.
I congratulate the Anantnag police for tracking his movement. They then shared the input with the Srinagar police and an operation was launched to neutralise him, Singh said, adding Mir motivated dozens of youths to join the militant ranks.
Singh said the security forces have killed over 200 militants this year so far.
This includes about 190 militants in the valley and the rest in the Jammu region, he said.
Earlier, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar told reporters near the encounter site that Mir’s killing was a huge success for the police and security forces.
This is not a small achievement, he said.
Recounting the events of the morning, an official said security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the Rangreth area near the old airfield following specific information about the presence of militants there. As the forces were conducting searches in the area, the militants fired. The forces retaliated, resulting in the encounter.
A militant was killed in the exchange of fire, the official said, identifying him as Saifullah Islam Mir.
Incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, were recovered from the encounter site, he added.
Kumar said the network of J-K Police has become stronger and police get information about any militant entering the city.
Asked whether any other militant was apprehended alive from the encounter site, he said a suspect has been taken into custody and is being questioned.
Earlier a police spokesperson said that a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Srinagar Police and CRPF in on a specific information.
During the search operation, as the presence of terrorist got ascertained he was given opportunity to surrender, however, he fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter. Later on 53RR also joined in the operation.
As per police records, the chief operational commander of proscribed terrorist outfit HM was active since 2014. He was involved in many terror crimes and civilian atrocities besides was instrumental in recruiting innocent youth into terror folds. He was involved in killing of SgCT Khurshid Ahmad in Pulwama, killing of PSO of NC leader & SgCt Manzoor Ahmed in Kokernag, killing of a non local truck driver at Bijbehara, killing of Tanveer Ahmad Dar in Shopian. He was involved in attack on Sarpanch in Kokernag, grenade attacks on Police Post Kakapora & Police Post Lassipora.
Besides, he was also involved in many similar terror crimes regarding which dozens of cases stand registered against him in different Police Stations.
Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe his complicity in other terror crimes.
Keeping in view the prevailing pandemic due to COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of people from inherent risk of contracting the infection, the dead body of the killed terrorist shall be sent to Baramulla for his burial and last rites after completion of medico-legal formalities. The nearest family members of the killed terrorist shall be allowed to participate in the last rites at Baramulla.
In this connection a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and investigation has been initiated.