Top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat was killed in an encounter with security forces in Tral on Saturday. Another suspected militant was also gunned down by the security personnel. A third militant is believed to be still holed up at the site which is in Saimu village, Pulwama district.

The state government suspended internet services in the Valley, a day after it had lifted the ban on social media websites and applications, ANI reported. During the encounter, stone pelters sent audio messages via WhatsApp to people urging them to help Bhat, The Times of India reported quoting unidentified police officials.

The security personnel are conducting a search operation in the region. The gunfight started last night after the militants reportedly opened fire at a patrol party of the 42 Rashtriya Rifles at Hardumir, reported NDTV.

On July 8, 2016, the security forces had gunned down Hizbul chief Burhan Wani during an encounter in Anantnag. Three personnel from the Rashtriya Rifles unit got the Sena Medal for killing Wani.

His death led to widespread protests and clashes between the civilians and security forces, which have yet to be contained by the administration. Scores of civilians, mostly youngsters, have sustained serious injuries in the violence. Several lives have been lost and property has been damaged in the Valley in the unrest since then.