The decision by Hizb ul Mujahideen honcho Syed Salahuddin to pick three terrorists from across the Line of Control (LoC) to lead a terrorists’ group in Kashmir has forced security agencies to launch a fresh search operation in the Valley. Sources say it’s a search-to-kill operation.
Salahuddin’s special terrorist Riyaz Naikoo was killed — with his aide Adil Ahmed — in a joint operation of Jammu and Kashmir Police and 21 Rashtriya Rifles last week. The 32-year-old Naikoo was found holed up in a secret bunker in a village in Pulwama.
After the death of Naikoo, Salahuddin picked Ghazi Haider alias Saifullah Mir as the self-styled chief commander of Hizb ul Mujahideen in Kashmir. Zafar ul Islam, who is the chief military adviser to 55-year-old Ashraf Maulvi, will be Ghazi Hyder’s deputy. Abu Tariq Bhai will be his so-called chief military advisor.
A police officer of Jammu and Kashmir said that, of the three, Abu Tariq Bhai has been the most brutal in killing people. “We think that Abu Tariq Bhai is the Hizb terrorist we know as Zubair Wani of Anantnag,” he said, adding that the three Hizb terrorists were active in Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian, which are southern Kashmir districts.
Saifullah Mir is also known as Musahib and ‘Doctor Saif’ as he gave some terrorists injured in police encounters some first-aid care in the past. Mir passed Class 12 from Malangpora in Pulwama district of south Kashmir and did not study further. Naikoo was a graduate. Saif went to a vocational school after Class 12.
Ghazi Haider alias Saifullah Mir did a bio-medical course at the government-run ITI in Pulwama and then a job as a technician at the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology in Srinagar. Mir worked for three years and then turned a terrorist.
Security officials said quack Saif was classified as an ‘A’ category terrorist and was active mostly in the south Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian. They said Mir Riyaz was fully familiar with Naikoo’s network. Mir raises funds for the Hizb by extorting money from orchard owners and from illegal cultivation of opium in south Kashmir.