JAMMU, May 8: It was a success for Jammu and Kashmir police after a surveillance of over six months when dreaded Kashmiri terrorist Riyaz Naikoo was shot dead in Beighpura village of South Kashmir’s Awantipura on May 6.
The ultra was hiding inside a well built bunker that was constructed in a way to deceive the eyes of intelligence agencies. Within the false walls of bunkers, Riyaz used to hide whenever he visited his family in his village. The same sequence took place even on May 6 but with a catch. This time a highly specialized police team was keeping an eye on Naikoo.
It was a chase of nearly six months when the police team first started to keep a dedicated surveillance on the activities of Riyaz Naikoo and his close associates. The police was able to mark at least 12 bunkers that were used as a hideout by Naikoo in different parts of Kashmir.
Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh says that whenever there was information about Naikoo and raid was held, he used to flee the spot before the police team reached. “This time we were fully prepared and had specific input that Naikoo was hiding at Beighpura. Our teams were also having JCB to demolish any structure where Riyaz Naikoo was hiding” said Singh.
Interestingly, the police team had also picked up the mason who had built the bunker where the terrorist was hiding and it was from here that police came to know about false wall inside the structure. “When a person would look inside the bunker, he would see nothing as false walls were constructed and there was enough space where a person can lay down” said the DGP.
Naikoo was named as the chief of Hizbul Mujahideen terror outfit in 2017 when another terrorist Burhan Wani was eliminated by the security forces.
Drug trade run by Naikoo
Dilbag Singh said that Naikoo was running a parallel drug trade in the state and the money earned out of it was used for fuelling terrorism. “Naikoo was involved in narco-terrorism which was run not only from J&K but also from Punjab. Pakistan used to send drugs inside India through these two states and the money was used for fuelling terrorism in J&K” said Singh.
A drug peddler was arrested from Pakka Danga area of Jammu city in January 2018 who was also linked to Riyaz Naikoo. The police were able to untangle a network of peddlers who were linked to the terrorist in Kashmir.
In June last year, 532 Kg of heroin worth Rs 2700 crore was seized while being smuggled from Attari border by the customs department. Dilbag Singh said revealed that those involved in smuggling of the drug haul were also linked to Riyaz Naikoo and the money was supposed to be used for terrorism. Drug dealers used to transfer money to Naikoo through Hawala.
Even the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that was pursuing the case had informed the court the case was that of narco-terrorism.
Inter-state Trucks main source of smuggling weapons
Dilbag Singh also highlighted that as it was not possible to physically check each and every truck entering the border of J&K, these have become a major source for terrorists to bring weapons especially from Punjab.
“There have been cases along Punjab border where weapons were thrown inside the Indian territory through drones. These weapons the reach terrorists in Kashmir with the help of truck drivers or conductors” said the DGP.
There have been cases in the past where weapons were seized from inside the trucks. Three terrorists were arrested and six AK-47 rifles were seized from them during checking by J&K police at Lakhanpur on September 12 last year.
In another incident on January 31 this year, three terrorists who were going towards Kashmir in a truck were intercepted at Ban Toll plaza in Jammu and were shot dead. It was believed that the terrorists had infiltrated through International Border in kathua.