Security forces claimed a major success in Jammu & Kashmir on Monday with the killing of Mohhamed Sidiq Dar alias Saquib, militant group Hizbul Mujahideen’s top commander in the Valley and the second man in its hierarchy.
The police said they recovered an AK-74, one of the most sophisticated rifles of the AK series, from Saquib — a first of its kind recovery from the Valley.
Two other Hizbul militants — Riyaz Paswal alias Adnan and Ashfaq — were also gunned down in the encounter in Shopian, 55 km from Srinagar, on Monday, the police said.
“He (Saquib) was the second in command to Hizb chief Syed Salahuddin,” said Farooq Ahmad, Inspector General, Kashmir. “He was wanted in many attacks and killings.”
A satellite phone “which he used to communicate with his bosses across the border” and two AK-56 rifles were also recovered, Ahmad added.
Saquib, who operated in Jammu & Kashmir for the past 14 years, was a divisional commander of the outfit in Pir Panjal and operated in Doda, Bhaderwah and Kishtwar in Jammu and Anantnag and Kulgam in the Kashmir region. While Saquib hailed from Doda, Paswal and Ashfaq were from the valley, the police said.
Police sources said Saquib was instrumental in reviving Hizbul Mujahideen in south Kashmir after he crossed over from Doda- Kishtwar to this side. He managed the intelligence wing of the outfit, masterminded many attacks in the area, and coordinated with the Lashkar in carrying out attacks.
He was considered very close to Lashkar’s top man in the Valley, Rehman Bhai, and had recently given security forces the slip in Pulwama, police sources said.
The AK-74, a 5.45 mm assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union, was first deployed when Soviet forces were engaged in the Afghanistan conflict.