SRINAGAR: The killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat triggered protests and clashes at Tral, and many places in south, central and north Kashmir. Over 60 people sustained injuries through clashes with security forces in the south of the State. Of that, 20 sustained pellet injuries during clashes in Tral.
A police spokesman said stone pelting was reported from about two dozen places in different areas of valley.
As news of Sabzar’s death spread, there was spontaneous shutdown of shops in the valley, and public transport disappeared from the roads. Authorities, as a precautionary measure, imposed curfew-like restrictions in parts of the State, including downtown Srinagar to prevent youth from taking to roads and staging protests.
Restrictions will remain in place on Sunday also, official sources said. Mobile internet services were suspended across the valley since Saturday afternoon as well. The government had on Friday lifted a month-long ban on 22 social networking websites and instant messaging services in the state. Security officials termed Sabzar’s killing as a major jolt to Hizb.
“He (Sabzar) had taken over as Kashmir chief of Hizb after Burhan’s killing while Zakir, who recently quit the outfit, was given charge of social media. Sabzar was the brain behind using social media to propagate militancy and lure youth to militancy,” they said, adding, “He was an A ++ category militant, and carried a bounty of `10 lakh.”
Sources said another slain militant Faizan, who is a teenager, had joined as a militant in March this year, after snatching a weapon from a CRPF jawan. He was studying in class 9 when he joined militancy this year, they said. Bodies of the slain militants were handed over to their families in the evening. The Army also successfully foiled infiltration bids in Rampur. “Armymen detected suspicious movement along the LoC in Rampur sector early on Saturday morning.
The troops fired on the infiltrating militants, who returned fire. In the ensuing gunfight, six militants were killed,” defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said. Meanwhile, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik have called for shutdown on Sunday and Monday to protest the killing of Sabzar, his associate and six militants.
They also called for a march to Tral on May 30 to pay tributes to Sabzar and seven other militants killed in two separate encounters in the Valley on Saturday.
“We condemn the use of brute force against the unarmed civilians, injuring hundreds of them and call for a strike on Sunday and Monday,” a joint statement from separatists — chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and JKLF chief Yasin Malik, said here.