AMU scholar-turned-militant among 2 shot dead in Kashmir encounter

AMU scholar-turned-militant among 2 shot dead in Kashmir encounter

Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including a PhD scholar, were killed on Thursday during an encounter with security forces in north Kashmir’s Handwara district, officials said.

Manan Bashir Wani and his associate Ashiq Hussain Zarger, a resident of Langate, were killed in the encounter at Shatgund Bala village early morning.

The Army and J&K police’s Special Operation Group launched a joint operation in the early hours of the day after receiving inputs about militants hiding there.

As the searches were on, militants opened fire on the forces triggering retaliation from the troops. The firing stopped for some time, and resumed again when the forces tried to get inside the house the militants were hiding in, resulting in a fresh encounter.

Police made repeated announcements appealing the militants to surrender, officials said. By afternoon, the operation ended and police recovered both the bodies.

Wani (27), who was enrolled as a PhD scholar with the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), joined militant ranks in January this year and was spotted with militants in south Kashmir carrying AK 47 rifle.

He joined the Hizbul Mujahideen and was assigned to revive militancy in frontier district of Kupwara and officials said used to lure young educated men towards militancy.

Wani’s body was handed over to his family at Sogam where hundreds of villagers from adjacent areas had assembled to participate in his funeral.

Later, clashes broke out at village where the encounter took place and police used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters.

Earlier in the morning administration had snapped internet connectivity in Kupwara district and closed schools and colleges in Baramulla and Pulwama district. Additional troop were deployed in Sogam area where Wani lived.

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq called for a shutdown on Friday over the killing of Wani.

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said Wani’s death was “our loss” and asked political parties to try to facilitate a solution through dialogue with all the stakeholders.

First Published: Oct 11, 2018 15:00 IST

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