In this photo clicked on July 30 2017, Hizb militant commander Riyaz Naikoo is seen addressing a gathering during the funeral of militant Shariq Ahmad in Pulwama. Naikoo was killed in Beighpora area of Awantipora on Wednesday, May 06, 2020. (File Photo KM/Umar Ganie)

Srinagar:  Amid the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, authorities in Kashmir have suspended voice calls too on all mobile networks except government-run BSNL following the killing of militant commander Riyaz Naikoo during an encounter at Awantipora area of Pulwama on Wednesday.

IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar told India Today Television Network in a phone-in that voice calls have been suspended and curfew would be imposed in most parts of Kashmir as a precautionary measure.

“He (Naikoo) was a role model for militant recruitment and was involved in the killing of several security personnel. We have shut mobile internet, voice calls, and SMS service and will also impose curfew in most areas,” Kumar told India Today.

Earlier, the authorities suspended mobile internet across Kashmir as the news of Naikoo being trapped and eventually killed starting going viral.

Several subscribers of Reliance Jio and Airtel confirmed they were not able to make voice calls. The services were suspended at around 3 pm on Wednesday.

As already reported, security forces dealt a major blow to Hizbul Mujahedeen  when they killed its chief operations commander Riyaz Ahmad Naikoo and his aide in an encounter at Beighpora, Awantipora.

Naikoo, 35, was one of the most wanted militant commanders in Kashmir. 

“Acting on the specific inputs about a high-value target, security forces cordoned off the Beighpora area and started the operation late Tuesday evening. When the forces were closing in on the target, they came under heavy fire. In the ensuing encounter, Naikoo and his aide were killed,” police sources told The Kashmir Monitor.

Hailing from Beighpora Pulwama, Riyaz Naikoo alias Mohammad Bin Qasim was a category A++ militant. 

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