08 May, 2021

A Militant Vacuum

The Burhan Wani cohort has entirely bowed out to a bullet-riddled end after the killing of ‘Dr Saifullah’. Who will be the next Hizb chief?

A Militant Vacuum

Hizbul Mujahideen, one of the oldest militant outfits in Kashmir Valley, is in a visible leadership crisis after security forces gunned down its operational chief, Saifullah Mir, police said. Mir was killed on November 1 in a gunfight with security forces on the outskirts of Srinagar.

Mir, who was described by J&K police chief Dibagh Singh as the “number one commander of Hizb”, was a close associate of the outfit’s former commander Burhan Wani, a social media-savvy militant whose killing by security forces in July 2016 had sparked a months-long public unrest.

Mir, son of a government schoolteacher, joined the Hizb in 2014, but his family and friends came to know about his turn to militancy when a photograph showing him with an AK-47 went viral on social media. Mir worked under Wani and also appeared in a highly-circulated group photo with the former leader and other associates.

He was more commonly referred to as Dr Saifullah, a titled he earned in his village where he was known as a “healthcare professional”. In reality, he...

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