A top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and a dropout scholar of the Jamia Milia University Sabzar Ahmad Sofi, along with his associate Asif Ahmad Shergojiri, were on Wednesday killed in an encounter with security forces at Nowgam on the outskirts of Srinagar.

Clashes broke out in the area and also in Anantnag as reports of killing of Sabzar reached there. Hurriyat leadership led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani has given the call for a shutdown in Kashmir on Thursday to protest against his killing. Geelani has also called for a shutdown on October 27 to protest against the death of 7 civilians in an explosion in Kulgam.

According to the police, Sabzar joined terrorism in 2016 and was involved in several attacks on security forces. He was also booked for killing a woman in the Batapora locality. He was reportedly preparing for civil services examination before joining terrorism.

Crowds gathered at the encounter spot and Anantnag where they indulged in stone pelting at the security forces. Educational institutions were closed as a precautionary measure.

Army spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, said that bodies of the two slain terrorists and AK-47 rifles have been recovered from the encounter spot.

All roads leading to Nowgam were immediately sealed by the authorities and a large number of security personnel were deployed in the area.

Police said that during a cordon and search operation (CASO), the terrorists opened fire at the security forces. The other terrorist, Shergojiri had joined terrorism in January this year and was involved in attacks at security establishments.