Riyaz Naikoo, Hizbul Mujahideen’s Chief in Kashmir and an A-category terrorist with a bounty of 1.2 million rupees on his head, was yesterday gunned down in a smooth joint operation by the Army, CRPF and the J&K Police. Riyaz Naikoo has been the longest surviving terrorist in the valley, with an operational ‘career’ of nine long years.
Riyaz Naikoo became the chief of Hizbul Mujahideen after the death of Mohammad Yasin Itoo, who had taken over the terror outfit after Burhan Wani’s elimination in July 2016. Riyaz Naikoo was credited as one of the most effective commanders in Kashmir, who could recruit a large number of youngsters.
After the security forces registered this major victory, of having gunned down one of the most wanted terrorists in Kashmir, as is popular custom, a section of media, both Indian and International, could not hold back on their grief. After all, the terrible Indian state had killed a math-teacher turned terrorist. How could the Indian forces kill the son of a tailor, even if he was involved in some of the most gruesome crimes against humanity? The international media’s fascination and fanfare for terrorists in the valley is known to all, however, yesterday’s killing of Naikoo demonstrated how even Indian media couldn’t let go of the fact that the man was, after all, a math teacher in Kashmir.
One is taken back to 2016, when, after the killing of dreaded terrorist cum womanizer – Burhan Wani, Barkha Dutt had announced the same on Twitter as follow:
Breaking: Burhan Wani hizbul commander, son of school headmaster who used social media as weapon of war, killed in Anantag. BIG STORY
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) July 8, 2016
“Son of a headmaster,” she declared, as if that would in some manner discount the fact that the man was a terrorist. Barkha, even back then, was not alone. Barkha’s journalistic career has eversince, taken a nose dive.
Kavita Krishnan, a maniacal and vile social media communist went on to call the encounter in which Wani was killed, to be an “extra judicial killing”.
Shame on the extra judicial killing of Burhan Wani, and the killing of 8 protesters/mourners in his funeral. https://t.co/zy9muUP1vM
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) July 10, 2016
The same is now being seen with the killing of Riyaz Naikoo. The media cannot help but make the world believe that Riyaz was not a terrorist, instead, a math teacher turned ‘rebel’. As a matter of fact, Al Jazeera called the man a ‘rebel’, in a story titled: Indian troops kill top Kashmir rebel commander Riyaz Naikoo.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 6, 2020
Reuters, meanwhile, thought it best to shift focus from the killing of Riyaz Naikoo, and instead focus on the many ‘clashes’ that the development had triggered across the valley. It is no hard guess to take, that by doing such a story at a critical time as such, Reuters aimed at nothing less that triggering a 2016-like bloodbath in Kashmir.
— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) May 6, 2020
— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) May 7, 2020
The Indian Express could not help but bring to fore the background of the terrorist, calling him the “son of a tailor” who acquired a degree in mathematics and who, was a popular teacher among students of Pulwama.
The son of a tailor of Beighpora village in Awantipora in south Kashmir, Riyaz Naikoo acquired a degree in mathematics and taught the subject at a local school. Village residents remember him as a teacher popular among students. #ExpressExplained https://t.co/jIHRxXPCso
— Express Explained (@ieexplained) May 6, 2020
The Wire, bearing true faith to their obvious inclinations, wrote a piece describing the journey of Naikoo. They ended the sorry excuse of an article by stating that he wanted to become an engineer. Of course, they referred to him as a mere ‘militant’ throughout.
"Naikoo had given the slip to the security forces on several occasions in the past.
He was killed in a residential building along with his associate, during the exchange of fire."https://t.co/FqbzmGe74B
— The Wire (@thewire_in) May 6, 2020
Users also dug up a two year old article by the Huffington Post, which is nothing short of a glowing tribute for Riyaz Naikoo, describing him as a man who loved to paint roses.
Security forces are currently conducting an operation to find Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo. Here's how Naikoo rose to the position of commander after Burhan Wani's death.
From 2018. https://t.co/GCSNdEycP1
— HuffPost India (@HuffPostIndia) May 6, 2020
Almost the entirety of what we know as mainstream media in India, clinged on to the fact that the terrorist eliminated yesterday was, at the end of the day, a mathematician. This, obviously, is done with an aim to make a Burhan Wani out of Riyaz Naikoo. Burhan was the son of a headmaster, while Naikoo that of a tailor. Burhan was the handsome rebel of the valley till 2016, while Naikoo was a much more calm and calculated individual. Burhan was the social media poster boy, while Riyaz was the mathematician.
The aim is simple. To humanize a degenerate responsible for crimes against humanity in the valley. Such stories and profiles of terrorists are done in order to diminish their image as a terrorist, and instead, portray the enemies of the state as mere ‘rebels’, who had their own stories behind their decision to pick up the gun. The media would want public opinion to be gentle, in remembrance of terrorists of the valley who had just as normal lives as we do. The media would want all of it, but what they do not want is for the public to support the ‘Indian state’. And that is precisely what majority of Indians feel – an unflinching commitment to their nation, and a sense of exuberance when its enemies are eliminated.