Sabzar Bashir, the last of the four scholars-turned-militants, has been killed in a clash with security forces at Nowgam in Srinagar early this morning. With him all the four scholar-militants, who had taken up arms in the past two years, have got killed.
The first to fell to the bullets of forces was Azharuddin Khan, who had qualified for PhD in Arabic. A resident of Kandi Kupwara, Azahar had joined militant ranks in April 2016 but was killed in a gunfight with forces in February last year.
Second to lose life was Dr Rafi Bhat, associate professor in Kashmir University. He was killed along with top Hizb commanders Saddam Paddar, Bilal Mohand and three others on May 7 at Badigam in Shopian, this year, just three days after he left his profession to join militancy.
Dr Mannan Wani, the most high profile scholar turned militant, was another to follow. Mann had shunned his research studies at Aligarh Muslim University to take up arms in January this year. He was killed on October 12 at Langate in northern Kupwara district.
Sabzar was pursuing PhD in botany at Jamia Millia Islamia Delhi before joining militant ranks. Sabzar had come on vacations in July 2016. The killing of the most popular militant leader Burhan Wani inspired him to leave his studies to take up arms. He had completed his MSC from Burkhatulla University in 2013-14 and MPhil from Jivagee University Gwalior before joining Jamia Milia Islamia New Delhi in 2016. Sabzar also qualified NET,JRF and was doing coaching for IAS. After completing his vacations, Sabzar left his home silently to join militant ranks. Due to communication blockade in the valley in the wake of Burhan Wani’s killing, his parents had no contact with Sabzar for three months. Once the contact was established they came to know that he had joined armed movement.
Sabzar was trapped along with his associated Asif at in a hideout at Nowgam on southern outskirts of capital Srinagar previous night, which led to a fierce gunfight. The gunfight started at 2 A.M and ended at 7 A. M with the killing of both the militants.
A police spokesperson said that SOP was followed during the encounter and no collateral damage occurred.
The government and security forces were left red-faced on Sunday when they left an encounter site at Kulgam without cleaning it. At least seven civilians were killed and around 50 injured in a blast that occurred at the encounter site.
Hundreds of residents gathered near the encounter site early in the morning. They pelted stones on police and security forces raising pro freedom slogans. The police fired tear smokes shells and cane charge to quell the protestors.
Government has beefed up security all across the capital Srinagar and nearby Budgam district. Internet service and railway service have been suspended, and people movement curtailed in areas in the vicinity
Thousands of people are reported to have gathered at Naina (Sangam) in Pulwama district, the native village of Sabzar as the news about his death spread.