Police on Tuesday claimed to have killed one of the oldest surving militant commanders in North Kashmir’s Uri near the Line of Control (LoC) while he was trying to sneak into the Valley. The commander has been identified as 43-year-old Abdul Qayoom Najar alias Jansahib. Police said that Najar was sent to the Valley to take over the command of Hizbul Mujahideen after the outfit lost its two prominent commanders, Javid in north Kashmir and its operational chief Yasin Yatoo in south Kashmir.
A top police officer told The Indian Express that Najar was sent to Kashmir on the orders of United Jihad Council, chief Salahuddin to revive Hizbul Mujahideen. “This killing is very significant. He was killed near Zorawar post while he was trying to infiltrate into Valley.” Police said that Najar was involved in several killings of security forces personnel and civilians. Police also added that he had exfiltrated to Pakistan in 2015 after he patched up with the Hizbul leadership after some brief differences. Also Read: Hizbul Mujahideen commander Abdul Qayoom Najar killed in Baramulla
For years Najar, one of the most wanted militants of North Kashmir has kept the police and the army on toes.
Najar came to the limelight after the attacks on mobile towers in 2016 and killings of six civilians in Sopore and its adjacent villages. Though the Hizbul Mujahideen had been blaming the Indian agencies for these attacks, however, police officials were convinced that those killings and attacks were the handiwork of Najar and his associates.
Police had also announced a reward of Rs 10 lakhs for information leading to the arrest of Najar. Since police had no picture of him, so they had pasted picture of a shopkeeper claiming it to be Najar. Najar, the longest surviving militant, was one of the top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen.
A resident of Sopore town, he joined militancy barely at the age of 16. He was arrested in 1992 and later released. After his release, Najar recycled into the militancy in 1995. Though for many years, Najar was a militant, but he always aspired to become a top commander after killing and arrest of top Hizbul commanders, Najar was the senior most active commander and thus the de-facto operational chief of Hizbul.
Officers say that he kept changing his appearance and the police has reports that suggest he used wigs and moved around meekly. A top police officer, who has been involved in the operation to track him, had earlier said that Najar didn’t trust anyone and had even created fear among those who helped him.
Investigating agencies say the relation between Najar and Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Syed Salahudin soared from last September after he demanded more money for running the militant operations in the Valley.
“This is one of the issues of the discord between Hizb leadership and Najar. There were other problems as well,” he said. Officials say that Najar was also unhappy as the Hizbul high command had shifted their focus to the boys operating in Tral instead of his cadres.
The things came to a flashpoint in May, when Najar and his close associate Imtiyaz Kundoo threatened mobile operators to close their business in Sopore town and even started killing people including a local Hurriyat leader Sheikh Altaf ur Rehma who had served many years in jail for supporting militancy.
Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani and United Jihad Council headed by Syed Salahudin termed it as a handiwork of Indian agencies and asked people related to mobile business to continue their business.
At that time hitherto, unknown Lashkar- e-Islam posters surfaced in the town considered as the support base of Geelani. The posters even targeted Hurriyat leaders and blamed them for being in league with intelligence agencies and responsible for killing of some militant commanders.
The officials say that Najar didn’t like intervention from Hurriyat leaders in militancy as he felt his writ was being challenged by the separatist leadership.