May 2017 News

Spontaneous Shutdown In Valley Post Hizb Commander Sabzar Bhat's Killing

27 May 2017
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ishfaq Tantry

Srinagar: As the news of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmed Bhat's killing spread, it looked somewhat like 2016, when Burhan Wani was killed, which had triggered a long unrest. Sabzar along with one of his close aides was killed in a gunfight at Tral in Pulwama district today. In no time, the situation in Kashmir on Saturday afternoon turned tense as spontaneous protests broke out in the Valley. Shops and businesses in Srinagar and other towns closed down. In a protest near the encounter site inTral, one person, Moulvi Aqib Ahmadof Khanqah, Tral, was killed after receiving a bullet in the head. More than 10 civilians were injured after being hit by bullets and pellets during clashes near the encounter site. The police, however, said the youth was killed in crossfire. 'During crossfire, one person was injured. He was rushed to Tral hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,' a police spokesman said. Reports said 20 protesters were injured in Tral today. By evening, 16 injured persons had been brought to SMHSHospital in Srinagar from various parts of the Valley. 'Of the 16 admitted to the hospital, six have bullet injuries while five have pellet injuries in eyes. Two have received shell injuries,' said Dr Nazir Choudhary, Medical Superintendent, SMHS Hospital. Classwork in many schools had to be suspended in Srinagar and other towns as college students tried to take out protests, triggering clashes. Clashes between students and security men were witnessed in Kothibagh and Maisuma in Srinagar. Within hours, the streets in the city wore a deserted look as people headed home fearing more trouble even as stone-throwers engaged with security forces in many areas, including downtown Srinagar. Sensing more trouble, the authorities have decided to impose curfew in parts of Srinagar falling under the jurisdiction of the Kralkhud, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safa kadal, Maharaj Gunj, Maisuma, Batamaloo and Nowhatta police stations. Protestswere also witnessed in Anantnag, where at least four students were injured, one of them grievously, during clashes with CRPF men. Among them, three received pellet injuries, while one student with a severe head injury was referred to Srinagar in a critical situation, said doctors at Anantnag hospital.By evening, 15 persons had been injured during protests in Anantnag and 14 were injured in Shopian. In Baramulla, the police resorted to teargas shelling and aerial firing to prevent students of Boys Degree College from coming out on the road.Protests were also reported from Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian, Kupwara and Bandipora districts. Separatist leaders - Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik - have called for a shutdown across Kashmir on Sunday and Monday against what they termed the 'use of brute force' on civilian protesters at Tral, where people had tried to march towards the encounter site. They have also called for a march to the Tral area on Tuesday. Stone-throwing incidents were reported from about two dozen places from various areas of Kashmir on Saturday, the police said in a statement. 'The gatherings of miscreants threw stones on the police and camps. They also threw stones on the moving vehicles on the busy roads and in the chowks,' the statement said.