Inspector-General of Police of Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar on Thursday stated that security forces faced law and order problems for the first time yesterday in Kashmir valley after August 5 last year, the day when the Article 370 was removed by the union government. He was referring to the mob attack on security forces following Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Riyaz Naikoo was eliminated by security forces in an encounter.
While addressing the media, the IGP spoke about the encounter that took place yesterday in which the security forces eliminated Hizbul Mujahideen’s top leader and Jammu and Kashmir Commander Riyaz Naikoo. Vijay Kumar said, “At the encounter site yesterday, for the first time we witnessed the law and order problem after August 5. But the positive sign was that it only occurred at that encounter site.”
He added, “Our two vehicles were damaged in heavy stone-pelting, we handled it professionally. Around 10-11 stone pelters were injured and one and two of them also suffered bullet injuries. All of them have been hospitalized.”
“Our DIG Atul was leading a special team including young officers, they were after Riyaz Naikoo for the last six months. They were generating information, conducted many raids but did not achieve any success but from the month of March, his team geared up, and sometimes the team members used to stay awake continuously. Yesterday morning the militant opened fired, our forces retaliated and during the operation, HM Chief was killed,” Vijay Kumar said.
Kumar said, “The massive success for security forces as one more encounter took place yesterday, in total four terrorists were killed yesterday including HM Chief and two belonging to LeT.”
He revealed that in the Handwara encounter, police had generated information that two LeT commanders were hiding in a house. Vijay Kumar said, “Our SP along with the SOG went their and surrounded the area later army and CRPF were also called there and operation was commenced. We have lost our eight colleagues within three days.”
Kumar revealed that they had launched at least 27 operations in the last four months in Kashmir in which around 64 militants were neutralized. Out of them, three commanders were also killed. Along with this, they had arrested 25 active militants. He added that the security forces did not face any such law and order issue after August 5 and the CRPF has played an important role.
“SSB, ITBP, and J-K police have also helped in it. Then we faced COVID-19 in the last week of March which is being handled well by the assistance of CRPF and J-K police. Police have also supported us in it”, Kumar said.
Massive violence has erupted at the site of the encounter where Riyaz Naikoo was killed yesterday. A large number of people had taken to streets and staged protests as soon as news about Riyaz Naikoo getting trapped in the cordon laid by police, army and CRPF spread. As the day progressed, many more people from adjoining villages had reached the Beighpora and they started pelting stones at the security forces after the news of the Naikoo’s death emerged. A video of the mob overpowering a police vehicle and ripping it apart had gone viral on social media. Security forces had to resort to firing live bullets and pellets to disperse the mob. This went on for several times, as the dispersed crowd regrouped again and again. At least two dozen rioters were injured in the incident, with some of them hit by bullets. Some police and paramilitary forces also suffered injuries in the clashes.
Incidents of violence by terror-supporting mob were regular before 5th August last year, but such incidents had disappeared after the separate status of the state was revoked and it was split into two union territories.