Yasin Itoo, 40, popularly known as Mehmood Ghaznavi, had taken the command of Hizbul Mujahideen after the death of the outfit’s divisional commander Burhan Muzafar Wani last year.
Yasin, left his home for the first time in 1996 and crossed the Line of Control for arms training. That time, he was a second year graduate student. After his return, he was arrested. Following his release, he completed his graduation and started a private coaching centre. However, in 2002, he again joined Hizbul ranks and was arrested a year later.
In 2004, after his release from prison, he again joined militancy and rose on to become district commander of Hizbul for Budgam.
He was arrested again in 2005 and later released in early 2015. Soon, he joined Tehreek-I-Hurriyat headed by Syed Ali Geelani. However after some time, he went missing and a Hizb statement declared him as “killed.” In a statement, Hizb chief Syed Salahuddin had said that Ghaznavi was killed when he fell from a mountain while being on “operational duties”. His funeral in-absentia was offered at his Nagam residence.
However, after the killing of Burhan Wani, Itoo, by then known by the name of Mehmood Ghaznavi surfaced in south Kashmir and addressed massive public rallies in various areas during the public uprising. He also addressed a massive rally in Redwani village of Kulgam on August 14 last year. After playing a long game of hide and seek, he finally could not elude death and became 7th Top Militant to be neutralised by SF in the recent past.