Dilbagh Singh, the director general of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, said on Monday that Adil Bashir Sheikh was killed along with two other armed men in Shopian district after being surrounded by security forces.
The three men were responsible for the death of a dozen people, including four police officers, he added.
"It is a major success for security forces," Singh told a news conference, adding, “It was a successful operation."
Sheikh stole a cache of automatic weapons from the house of a local legislator in September 2018 and joined the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, the biggest group fighting for Kashmir's merger with Pakistan.
Earlier this month, security forces detained Davinder Singh, a senior police officer responsible for security at the airport of the regional capital Srinagar, after he was found travelling in a car with a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen.
"We have got a lot of information from him," Singh said, without elaborating.
Tensions in Kashmir have been especially high over the last year. India and Pakistan both said they carried out airstrikes in enemy territory after a February 2019 bombing by a Pakistan-based militant group killed dozens of Indian troops.
On August 5, 2019, the administration of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a surprise executive decree to strip the Indian portion of the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of its special status. Modi has claimed that the decision was necessary for Kashmir’s economic development and would stop “terrorism.”