Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, the self-styled successor of dead Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in the Tral region of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, was no braveheart.
According to an India Today report, which cites senior Army sources, Bhat remained in hiding for over 10 hours before being neutralised, without firing a single bullet at the security forces. Report suggests Bhat frantically sent messages from his handset to gather stone-pelters at the encounter site, hoping that he would escape amid the chaos that would follow after the operation is disrupted.
Bhat's location was tracked by security forces using technical intelligence provided to the Army by the Jammu and Kashmir police. Acting on the lead, the forces cornered Bhat and his category A accomplice Faizan in a cluster of houses in Saimoo village in Tral area on Friday evening. After attempts to establish contact with the terrorists failed, the raiding team decided to 'smoke out the rats'.
"Petrol was poured inside the first house using hose pipes and it was set on fire but the two did not react. The result in the second house was also the same. But when the troops poured in petrol in the third house around 8:15 am, the two ran out of the house and tried to breach the cordon," India Today quoted a source as saying. They were eliminated by the security forces before they could escape.
Sabzar had taken over as Hizb's Kashmir chief last year after killing of his predecessor Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on 8 July 2016. According to the daily’s source, terrorists who have joined Hizbul Mujahideen in the last few years are high on propaganda and try to create a following and a hero-like image by spreading their pictures on social media in full combat gear. "Little do they know that this act of theirs is of big help in identifying and locating them," the sources said.
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