Militant killed, new Hizb commander escapes

Militant killed, new Hizb commander escapes

A militant was killed in an encounter with security forces on Saturday in the volatile Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

A source said security forces had inputs that Sabzar Ahmad Dar, who replaced the slain Burhan Wani as commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, was among the three militants who were hiding in a house in Hafoo Nazneenpora village of Tral.

As soon as the security forces approached the house, the militants opened heavy fire which was retaliated, triggering an encounter. While Sabzar managed to escape, a local and a Pakistani militant continued to fire on the search party.

A police officer confirmed to DH that one militant has been killed in the “ongoing” encounter. However, his identity was not known immediately.

Sabzar, also known as Sab Don, became the new poster boy of militancy in Kashmir after Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8.
 
A native of Tral, 26-year-old Sabzar is among the fresh breed of militants who followed Burhan in south Kashmir since 2010.

In December 2015, the police announced a cash reward on a group of militants and Sabzar was among them.

Reports stated that during the encounter, hundreds of civilians from adjoining villages tried to march towards the site to help militants escape.  Security forces used tear gas shells to disperse protesters, who did not relent and in the melee, a service rifle of a Central Reserve Police Force trooper was snatched, reports added.

A police officer confirmed that a youth armed with sticks attacked the CRPF trooper at Tral Bus Stand before fleeing with his INSAS rifle.

Despite army chief Gen Bipin Rawat’s warning last month, that those trying to disrupt anti-militancy operations in Kashmir will be treated as “overground workers of terrorists” and can be fired on, several incidents of stone-pelting during encounters have been reported.

Later, during a visit to Kashmir in the last week of February, Gen Rawat had said that coordinated efforts by security forces were needed to deal with the problem of stone-pelting in the Valley.

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