Srinagar: A top militant commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen was killed in an encounter with security forces in Handwara Tehsil of north Kashmir's Kupwara district last night, hours after his arrest, police said.
Police identified the militant as Mehraj-du-Din Halwai alias Ubaid, a resident of Sopore in Baramulla district. He was active since 2012.
"One of the oldest & top commander of HM militant outfit Mehrazuddin Halwai @ Ubaid got neutralised in Handwara encounter. He was involved in several militant crimes. A big success: IGP Kashmir,'' Kashmir Zone Police said in a tweet Wednesday morning.
Police said the militant was arrested by a joint team of police and SSB at a checkpoint which was established for enforcement of COVID appropriate behaviour at Watyen Handwara on Tuesday.
“During further questioning of Ubaid, multiple cordon and search operations were launched by Handwara Police, Army, CRPF and SSB at Pazipora-Renan area of Kralgund, Handwara where he tried to pin point the location where he had kept his arms and ammunition,” police said.
“Upon reaching the disclosed location, Ubaid picked up his hidden AK-47 rifle and started firing indiscriminately upon the search party which led to an encounter. He was killed in the ensuing encounter. Incriminating material including the AK-47 rifle and four magazines was recovered from Ubaid's possession,” police said.
As per police, the slain was a A++ categorized militant.
Ubaid, police said, was involved in killing of civilians and security forces including SPO Mudasir Ahmad Dar of Untoo Hamam Sopore in July 2013, Sarpanch Habibullah Mir of Goripora Bomai, four policemen in Hygam Sopore, two Hurriyat activists and ex-militant Mehraj-ud-Din of Badambagh Sopore.
Ubaid, as per police, was a contemporary of top Hizb militant commander Burhan Wani, who was killed by the security forces on July 8, 2016 in Bamdoora area of south Kashmir's Anantnag. “A contemporary of HM’s notorious militant Burhan Wani. While Burhan was engaged in series of civilian/SFs killings in South Kashmir, Mehrazuddin Halwai was involved in killings of civilians/SFs in NorthKashmir,” police said in another tweet.
“He was active since 2012 and was involved in several killings in north Kashmir. He had a long militant crime history including attacks on police, other security forces, and civilian atrocities,” police said in a statement. It listed a series of attacks in which Halwai and his associates were involved. The statement added the attacks led to the killings of 10 persons including five policemen. “The killed militant was well acquainted with modern means of communication by which he would communicate with other militants and plan and execute different terror activities on the ground. He was instrumental in motivating and recruitment of youth into terrorist ranks besides raising funds for the promotion of militant activities,” police said.
Talking to reporters, Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said that Obaid was a diploma holder in computers and was very tech-savvy.