PhD Scholar Manan Wani among two militants killed in Hundwara gunfight
Amid violent clashes, thousand participate in the funeral processions of the slain
Hundwara: Two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants including top commander Dr. Manan Bashir Wani, PhD scholar-turned-militant and his associate Ashiq Hussain Zargar was killed in day long fierce at Shathgund Hundwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Thursday.
A top Army officer said, “Following specific inputs, a joint team of army’s 30 RR , 92 Battalion CRPF and SOG cordoned off Shatgund Balla area in the dead of night, it fired some warning shots towards the suspected spot, however, there was no retaliation immediately.”
“As forces intensified, search operation and house to house searches started. The target house was zeroed in, the hiding militants fired at the search party despite repeated offers to surrender, triggering encounter,” the Army official said.
He informed that two militants were killed in the gunfight who were later identified as PhD scholar-turned-militant Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Dr. Manan Bashir Wani son of Bashir Ahmed Wani resident of Tiki Pora, Sogam, Kupwara and his associate, newly recruited Ashiq Hussain Zargar son of Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Zargar resident of Tulwari Langate.
Violent clashes broke out near the encounter site as groups of youth resorted to stone-pelting on forces who retaliated with aerial firing and tear smoke shells to disperse the mob attacking forces.
“ The bodies of the two slain militants were taken away by the forces from the site of the gunfight. People have started gathering around the encounter site. Later handed over to the families of the deceased” said a local
Soon after the news about the death of two militants spread, violent clashes erupted in parts of Kupwara and Handwara.
Manan- a research scholar of the Aligarh Muslim University, had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen earlier this year. He had gone missing from the Uttar Pradesh University, where he had been studying Applied Geology. A few days later, his photograph, holding an AK assault rifle, appeared on social media.
His decision to join the terror group had shocked friends. One wrote on social media how he had always expected Mannan Wani to make it to civil services, another referred to a paper that had won him the first prize at an international conference in Bhopal in 2016.
Even after joining HIzbul, Mannan Wani was writing articles on social justifying his decision why he chose gun over pen. Kashmir Valley had witnessed violence for six months in 2016 following the killing of Burhan Wani, one of the known faces of Hizbul Mujaheedin on account of his penchant for uploading photos on Facebook.
Meanwhile, the authorities closed all the educational institutions in the frontier district and snapped internet services in parts of Handwara and Kupwara. An official of the district administration had said that the all schools and colleges across Kupwara district shall remain closed except in Machil, Tanghdar and Keran areas. The decision has been taken as a precautionary measure to avoid law and order situation, he said.
Meanwhile, schools and colleges have been closed in Bandipora district along with Colleges and Higher Secondary Schools in Pattan and Baramulla. Also degree college Pulwama was closed by the authorities, the officials added.
Amid pro-freedom slogans , thousands of people participated in funeral processions of the slain militants who were buried in their native places.
A month ago, on September 11, two militants LeT were killed in an encounter with the forces in Handwara. Arms and ammunition were also recovered from the site. The militants were identified as Furqan Rashid Lone and Liyaqat Ahmad Lone.(MK)