In a serious blow to "home grown militancy" in the Kashmir Valley, Hizbul Mujahideen's operational commander Saifullah Mir was killed in a gunfight with the police and security forces in Srinagar on Sunday, officials said. His associate was arrested alive in the encounter in Rangreth area. Saifullah, also known as Dr. Saifullah, had succeeded Riyaz Naikoo as the HM chief when Naikoo was killed by security forces on May 6 this year. He was the last of the 10 most wanted local militant commanders.
Naikoo had succeeded Burhan Wani, whose killing in a gunfight on July 8, 2016, in Kokarnag area of Anantnag district had triggered public unrest which lasted for nearly six months. Saifullah had planned a career in medicine. His mother, Sarwa Begum, who lives in Malangpora village of Pulwama district overlooking the Indian Air Force base, told reporters that her son wanted to become a doctor. He finally managed obtain a diploma in repair and handling of medical equipment. This earned him the prefix 'Dr.' Before joining the militant ranks, Saifullah served for three months in Kashmir's prestigious tertiary care hospital, the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Soura area of Srinagar.