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Longest surviving militant commander gunned down in Kashmir

Security forces dealt a major blow to militants on Friday when they killed one of the longest surviving commanders who was dreaded for his brutality in Kashmir.

Muzaffar Ahmad Naikoo alias Muz Molvi, a resident of apple rich town of Sopore, was the prime accused in the cold-blooded murder of two young sisters in Sopore in 2011.

Muz Molvi was among the four militants responsible for the killing of two sisters Akthara, 20, and Arifa, 17, on the night of January 31, 2011. Such was the brutality that the sisters were dragged out from their home at Muslim Peer Sopore and taken to nearby Moholla and were shot dead from point blank range. One of the girls was shot in her eye and the other on her chest. The killings had sparked a national outrage and even prompted the separatists to call for hartal against the brutality.

Three other accused in the killings, including Waseem Ahmad Ganai alias Sher Uni, Qari and the then Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) chief Abdullah Uni, were killed by the security forces in different encounters in north Kashmir. However, Muz Molvi was evading arrest for eight years and had switched sides to Al Bader outfit few years back. However on Thursday night security forces received a tip off about his presence in Machwa area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

A joint column of security forces immediately encircled the house where he was hiding. He tried to escape but forces immediately engaged him. In the ensuing gun battle he was shot dead, said police officials.

“Top LeT terrorist killed in an encounter in Budgam. One weapon recovered,” tweeted Northern Command of Indian army.

Police said Muz Molvi had joined LeT in 2008 and had a meteoric rise in the outfit. Operating mostly in Sopore belt, Muz Molvi was dreaded for his brutality. Police had categorised him as A +++ (most wanted) militant who was carrying a bounty of over Rs 10 lakh on his head.

“He was the longest surviving militant operating since 2008. He was an important member of LeT before he switched sides to Al Bader militant outfit,” Dr SP Vaid, director general of police, Jammu and Kashmir, told DNA.

In fact he was the chief assassin of the militants from 2008 to 2014. “He was a close aide of Abdullah Uni, Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toiba chief who was killed by security forces in Sopore in September 2011. He was involved in four civilian killings, standalone attacks on police and security forces, and terrorising people with his brutal methods,” said a security force official.

Hundreds of people joined his funeral procession at his home town Sopore on Friday.