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Top militant commander killed in Kashmir, mobile internet suspended

DPA
Srinagar, Kashmir
A top militant commander was killed by security forces in India-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, police said.
Riyaz Naikoo, 35, was commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, one of the oldest militant groups operating in the region. He had a bounty of 1.2 million rupees on his head.
Naikoo and an associate were killed in a joint operation by the Indian Army and Kashmir police in his native village, Beighpora, inspector general of police Vijay Kumar said.
“Weapons and warlike stores were recovered from the site.”
Mobile internet services were cut off across the Kashmir valley as the operation began. Villagers pelted stones at security forces as soon as news of Naikoo’s death spread, NDTV news channel reported.
Naikoo succeeded Burhan Wani as commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen after Wani was killed in a gunbattle with security forces in July 2016. Wani was 22.
Wani’s death triggered months of violent protests against the Indian government in Kashmir. At least 90 civilians, mostly young men, were killed and thousands wounded in clashes with police and paramilitary.
Naikoo was wanted for several killings, including of policemen and informers, a police source said.
He worked as a teacher before he joined the Hizbul Mujahideen and played a key role in getting Kashmiri youth to join the rebel group.

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