Abdul Qayoom Najar, one of the most dreaded and among the longest-surviving Kashmiri militants, was killed in an encounter with security forces along the Line of Control in north Kashmir’s Uri on Tuesday, police said.
Najar, 43, joined the insurgency when he was 16. Imtiyaz Hussain, the senior superintendent of police (SSP) Baramulla told HT that Najar was behind more than 50 killings, IED blasts, weapon snatchings and attacks on mobile towers.
Najar, the SSP added, is said to have joined the militancy in the early 90’s and had gone to Pakistan in 2015. He was returning to Kashmir to revive operations of the Hizbul Mujahideen after the militant groups top brass was neutralised by forces in recent months, he said.
“Najar was killed as security forces foiled an infiltration bid in Lachipora area near the LoC this morning,” Hussain said. He was the fifth militant to be killed in Uri since Sunday.
Police said in a press release that Najar was sent by the United Jehad Council’s commander Syed Salahudin to revive the Hizbul Mujahideen, whose commanders of north Kashmir Pervaiz Wani and Yasin Yatoo were killed recently.
Najar is said to be the perpetrator of a series of attacks on mobile towers and tower operators in 2014-15. He was expelled from the Hizbul Mujahedeen in July 2015 after being held responsible for deaths of innocent civilians in these attacks.
Najar reportedly started as a top commander after the killing of militant Abdul Majid Dar in 2003, a death many see as being orchestrated by Najar. Dar, according to the police, had entered into a dialogue with the Indian government in 2000.
“He was recalled to the base camp in Muzaffarabad in Pak-occupied-Kashmir to sort out the differences,” a police press note said.
The same year, when police circulated a most-wanted notice for Najar announcing a reward of Rs 10 lakh, a shopkeeper in Kupwara accused the police of using his picture instead of the dreaded militant, who was a lookalike. The gaffe had then made headlines.