Sabzar Ahmad Bhat was a Hizbul Mujahideen commander and the successor of Burhan Wani, who was killed by security forces in the village of Bamdoora in July last year. Bhat was gunned down earlier today by the army in an encounter in Tral in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. Another militant, Faizan, was also killed in the encounter that began late Friday night in Soimoh village of the district. While Faizan was a resident of Tral Payen, Sabzar used to live in Ratsona in Tral. Sabzar was an A++ category militant.
A police official told PTI that a cordon and search operation was launched by the security forces following information that top Hizbul Mujahideen militants were hiding in the area. The militants, who were holed up in a building in the village, opened fire as security forces approached close. On Friday, the same militants had fired on an army patrol in Tral. Stone-pelting was reported from areas in Pulwama and Anantnag district following the news of the killing of the militants. PTI reported that a spontaneous shutdown is being observed in the Valley.
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Six-foot tall Sabzar joined militancy two years ago on April 13 – the same day Burhan’s brother Khalid Muzffar was killed allegedly in an encounter with army. Within a short span, Sabzar gained Burhan’s trust and became his close associate. Even though Sabzar wasn’t a top commander of the militant outfit, he was very popular among the youth especially after his pictures with Burhan Wani appeared on the social networking sites. Sabzar operated in and around his native town Tral, a cluster of villages in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Police sources say that before going underground, Sabzar worked as a militant Over Ground worker (OGW) for some time.