After Islamic Terrorist Riyaz Naikoo's death, 55-year-old Ashraf Molvi becomes operational chief of Hizbul Mujahideen in J&K
New Delhi: According to sources, 55-year-old Mohammad Ashraf Khan alias Ashraf Molvi has now become the new operational chief of Hizbul Mujahideen.
Sources suggest that Molvi was chosen as the operational commander for the valley after a meeting was held in Muzzafarabad (PoK). It has also been said that Ashraf Molvi is a resident of Anantnag and is active in the organization since 2013.
It has also been suggested as per the sources that Molvi's nomination could lead to possible infighting within HM outfit as he was never close to Riyaz Naikoo and his associates like Junaid Sehrai and Saifullah.
Chief of the organization, Sayeed Salahudeen, during the meeting that was held in Muzaffarabad, said that 80 militants have been killed since 1st January 2020.
He was further heard as saying that the organization has attacked forces in Handwara, but the enemy (India) seems powerful. In addition to that, Salahudeen also reportedly said that the organization's poor policies are affecting them in the battleground.
Riyaz Naikoo's death
Molvi's appointment as the operational chief comes days after the death of Riyaz Naikoo, who was killed by the security forces in a highly-sensitive counter-terrorism operation which lasted for more than 12 hours.
Naikoo was rated as the most-wanted militant and had been on the run for the last eight years. Reports suggest that he was cornered by counter-insurgency teams on multiple occasions but had successfully managed an escape.
It was also said that Naikoo had a bounty of Rs 12 lakh on his head and had become the de facto chief of the terror group in Valley after his predecessor Burhan Wani was eliminated in 2016.
Over the years, Naikoo had become the face of Hizbul after replacing Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, who was gunned down by Indian forces in Tral in 2017. Bhat had, in turn, replaced the slain Wani as the operational chief in Kashmir.