Hizbul commander Sabzar Bhat killed in Kashmir gunfight

Srinagar: Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Sabzar Bhat who succeeded slain militant, leader Burhan Wani, was killed on Saturday along with another militant in a gunfight with security forces in Pulwama that triggered protests in the Kashmir Valley.

Director General of Police (DGP), S.P. Vaid confirmed Bhat’s death.

Bhat alias Abu Zarar had succeeded Wani who was killed on July 8 last year in a security operation in Anantnag.

Bhat carried a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head and was at the top of the security forces’ wanted list.

Massive protests erupted at many places in south, central and north Kashmir following Bhat’s killing in the gunfight in Saimoh village.

Markets were shut in Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian towns immediately after news about the killing spread. Internet services have been snapped to avoid rumour mongering. Authorities had only on Friday evening lifted a ban on social media that was imposed in April.

Students of a polytechnic institute and a college in Srinagar started pelting stones at police while a protest was underway in Nowhatta.

Authorities are taking steps to ensure that the killing of the Hizbul commander does not flare up into any major law and order situation.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti will hold a high level security meeting in Srinagar to ensure that law and order is maintained and protests are contained without any civilian casualties, sources said.

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