Hizbul commander Sabzar Bhat killed in J&K: 30 people injured in violent clashes, separatists call for bandh

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A civilian was killed and at least 30 people were injured in violent clashes between protesters and security forces in the Kashmir Valley following the killing of two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including top commander Sabzar Bhat, in an encounter in Pulwama district.

A spontaneous shutdown was observed in most parts of the Valley as violence erupted at more than 50 places in the wake of killing of Bhat, a police official said.

Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, who succeeded Burhan Wani, was killed along with another militant in Tral area.

Soon after the killings, stone-pelting protests started at around 50 places, including many parts in the city, Tral town and other towns and district headquarters of the valley, the official said.

"A person was hit by a bullet during the exchange of fire between militants and security personnel in Tral. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he succumbed to injuries," a police official said.

However, the protesters alleged he was killed during clashes with the security forces.

According to an official at sub-district hospital Tral, 19 injured people were admitted there.

While six persons had bullet injuries, 13 others were hit by pellets.

A teenager, Samir Ahmad, was hit by a tear smoke shell in the head in Mattan area of Anantnag district during clashes between security forces and protesters. He was rushed to a hospital here in a critical condition.

Five persons were injured in Shopian district during similar protests, he said adding the number of injured people across the valley might go up by the end of the day as intense clashes were reported from many parts.

Five police personnel were also injured during the clashes and have been taken to police hospital here for treatment, the official said.

The situation across the Valley is tense. Unnerved people rushed to their homes, leading to traffic snarls on certain routes. The schools closed three hours early

Separatists in Kashmir Valley have called for a two-day shutdown from tomorrow over the "use of force" against the protesters following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat today in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district.

The separatists also called for a march to Tral, in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, on May 30 to pay tributes to Bhat and seven other militants killed in two separate encounters in the Valley today.

"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.

The separatists asked people in the valley to turn up in large numbers in Tral on Tuesday to pay tributes to the slain militants. They said that calling for a strike has become necessary to protest the "state terrorism" unleashed by the forces on the civilian protesters. (PTI)
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