Lashkar Islam chief Qayoom Najjar killed while infiltrating Uri sector

Najar, a resident of north Kashmir's Sopore town, had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in the early part of 1990s and had topped the security forces' list of most wanted militants in the region for nearly a decade.

"He would not even trust his wife, his brother, not even his deputy or seniors", Imtiyaz Hussain, senior superintendent of police Baramulla, who is believed to be one of the top most officers of Jammu and Kashmir Police battling insurgency in Kashmir for years, said. He entered the limelight after he allegedly formed his own Lashkar-e-Islam which carried out series of attacks on mobile towers and killed several former terrorists and Hurriyat activists for their alleged links with security forces in Sopore and its adjacent villages.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir Muneer Khan told The Tribune that Najar was returning to Kashmir to take over the command of Hizbul Mujahideen, whose top commanders in the region were killed in recent months and which is facing an ideological challenge from its former commander Zakir Musa, who now leads Qaida-linked Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Islam.

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"His return was also necessitated because of wiping out of Hizb from north Kashmir", the police spokesman said.

He was also involved in attacks on telecommunications towers across the valley in 2015, the SSP said. Najar had exfiltrated into Pakistan in 2015.

The officer said Najar was called to the base camp in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by his handlers in 2015 after he fell out with the Hizb leadership.

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Additional security forces and state police personnel had been deployed in the town to prevent any law and order problem. Officers said he used to keep changing his appearance, used wigs and moved around discreetly.

A resident of Mumkak Sopore, police says Najar was sixteen when he became a militant after the killing of Hizb commander Abdul Majid Dar.

"He was now tasked with reviving the outfit in Kashmir in the wake of elimination of top militants", he said. He had been active in Kashmir for the last 17 years, as per reports.

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  • Gina Adkins