Kashmir tense after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat’s killing

A police spokesman said except for six incidents of stone pelting in Valley, situation remained peaceful and under control.

Published: 28th May 2017 06:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th May 2017 06:46 PM   |  A+A-

The shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads. (File | PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: The situation in Kashmir remained tense on Sunday with authorities imposing curfew-like restrictions in some parts to maintain law and order while shutdown called by separatists against killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat and his associate affected normal life in Valley.

Thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of slain Hizb commander Sabzar Bhat at his native Ratsuna village in Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district this morning amidst chanting of pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

Sabzar and his associate Faizan, a 9th class school dropout, were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Saimoh village of Tral in Pulwama district yesterday.

Two militants had reportedly escaped from the encounter site and both of them turned up at Sabzar’s funeral.

The former Hizb commander Zakira Musa, who recently quit the outfit after his threat to separatist leaders, also visited the Rathsuna village last evening.

Sabzar had taken over as Hizb's Kashmir chief last year after killing of his predecessor Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016.

He had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in April 2015 after Burhan’s brother, Khalid Muzaffar, was killed by security forces. Sabzar had snatched a rifle from a CRPF jawan and joined militancy and rose to become Kashmir chief of Hizb within two years of him joining the group. He was close to Burhan and had featured in most of videos and photos released by him before his killing.

Anticipating trouble, authorities imposed restrictions in parts of south, central and north Kashmir today in view of shutdown called by separatists and prevent youth staging anti-India demonstrations.

Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in areas falling under seven police stations in Srinagar today. Large number of police and CRPF men was deployed in the curfew-hit areas to maintain law and order and foil protests.

Tough restrictions also remained in force in Anantnag, Shopian, Tral, Pulwama and other adjoining areas in south Kashmir for the second day.

In areas, where restrictions were not imposed, the shutdown called by separatist leaders against Sabzar and his associate’s killing paralysed life.

The shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads.

Defying restrictions youth took to roads at Meemander in Shopian district and some other parts of south Kashmir and clashed with the security personnel, who fired tear smoke shells and resorted to baton charge to disperse them. The clashes continued for some time.

The clashes were also reported from Warpora, Sopore and Trehgam in Kupwara in North Kashmir. At both the places, cops fired tear smoke canisters to disperse the stone pelting youth.

A police spokesman said except for six incidents of stone pelting in Valley, situation remained peaceful and under control.

He said cops used maximum restraint while dealing with the situation at these places and stone pelters were chased away.

“As a precautionary measure, restrictions under section 144 CrPC were imposed in some vulnerable areas to prevent any untoward incident,” the spokesman said.

The mobile internet services remained suspended in the Valley for second consecutive day while mobile phone connectivity in south Kashmir was affected.

Over 80 people were injured in clashes with security forces in different parts of Valley yesterday after news spread that Sabzar was killed. In Sabzar’s native place, a youth was killed and three others injured after security forces fired on protestors.

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