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Riyaz Naikoo: math teacher who became a dreaded terror lord | India News

SRINAGAR / NEW DELHI: Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Commander at J&K Riyaz Naikoo was a math teacher at a private school and would give free math classes to children in his hometown of Baighpora before shifting gears to join Hizbul Mujahideen in June 2012 and move up his hierarchy to become the most feared local terrorist commander who regularly wooed Pakistan-based jihadist commanders for resources and sponsorship.
The turning point that brought Naikoo onto the path of senseless violence came in 2010, with the murder of a local Kashmiri teenager, Tufail Ahmed Mattoo, by a tear gas projectile. The murder of the 17-year-old boy with a tear gas projectile that pierced his skull, sparked a cycle of unrest and violent protests in the Valley. Dozens of young Kashmiri protesters were arrested by the police and Naikoo was one of them. When he was released from prison in 2012, something had changed within the young math teacher.
In May 2012, Riyaz is said to have asked his father, who owns a tailor shop, for money to enroll in a course. He disappeared shortly thereafter and the Naikoos were informed that their firstborn had joined the ranks of Hizbul Mujahideen.
Naikoo’s police and intelligence reports register him as a Category A ++ terrorist who was known for his Houdini act during encounters with security forces. Although the forces approached him several times, it was an evasive trap that he managed to escape from the cord each time with the help of the locals, among whom he had received respect or evoked fear. On Wednesday, however, his luck ran out.
Naikoo was born in Asadullah and Zeba in the village of Beighpora in the Awantipora tehsil district, Pulwama, in April 1985. His family owned fields in Beighpora, although Asadullah had also started a small tailor shop.
The second between a sister and three brothers, Naikoo studied at the government school in the neighboring town of Gulzarpora, and then at the Upper Secondary School in Noorpora, home to the family of Zakir Musa, the man he would eventually replace as the Hizbul Mujahideen. . operational commander.
Naikoo wanted to do engineering, but continued his science graduation with math as the core subject. He was very good at math, but he also showed great interest in construction. He helped his family in the construction of his house and in his spare time he helped his parents in agricultural activities.
In class XII, Naikoo obtained more than 77%. He was always the silent type and everyone in the village would think highly of him. He was habitual in the prayer and the reading of the Koran and, at a very young age, the village elders asked him to resolve local disputes.
Like Burhan before him, Riyaz’s transition from rookie to one of Kashmir’s most wanted terrorists was swift and ruthless, intelligence officials say. He took charge of the outfit at a time when there was turmoil over Burhan’s death at a 2016 meeting in Anantnag and attempts by his immediate successor, Zakir Rashid Bhat, alias Zakir Musa, to reverse the armed rebellion in Valley. Turn of Qaida.
After Syed Salahuddin, the supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, expelled Musa, Riyaz intervened to put the team back on track and trace a terrorist trail that would test and torment the security forces for the next four years. .
“Riyaz’s main strategy was to target police personnel and their families in southern Kashmir while relentlessly recruiting youth to expand the team’s reach,” an official said. “He was also known for his audacity. In January 2016, during the funeral of Shariq Ahmad Bhat, who had been killed in an encounter, Riyaz fired his Kalashnikov rifle into the air to revive a long-forgotten tradition of paying tribute to the murdered terrorists.” .
When J&K police detained his father and relatives of other terrorists in August 2018 for questioning, Riyaz managed to retaliate by kidnapping 11 family members of police from Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag and Awantipora. The 11 hostages were released only after the police allowed Asadullah and the others to go home.
Incidentally, his target of the policemen, all local cashmere, had created a division in the PoK-based Hizbul leadership, with many disapproving of the same.
Naikoo was a successful recruiter, had a strong network of field workers, and motivated many young Kashmiris to join the team.
He had been promoting Pakistani propaganda and was a Pakistan supporter in Kashmir.
Naikoo, who liked to make audio and video statements via social media, operated under the code name of Mohammad Bin Qasim and was notorious for extortion, said Inspector General (Kashmiri Rank) Vijay Kumar.
“In addition to targeting orchard owners and farmers to maintain cash flow in the team’s coffers, he would take heavy cuts from people involved in the illicit cultivation of opium in southern Kashmir. His team was also listed in the drug trafficking case in Jammu, where a large sum of It was discovered that the proceeds from the sale were transferred to one of his contacts, “Kumar said.

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