Phd scholar turned militant Manan Wani was among two militants killed in a gunfight with forces at Shatgund Qalamabad village of Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Thursday.
Sources confirmed that Wani was among the two killed militants. However, police spokesman said the identities of the slain duo was yet to be ascertained.
Wani hails from Tekipora Lolab and he had joined Hizb-ul-Mujahideen on 5 January when his picture with a gun appeared on social media, probably the first highly educated youth to become militant this year.
He was pursuing PhD in Geology at Aligarh Muslim University before joining militant ranks in Kashmir. The slain top militant belongs to a well off family in Lolab. Slain Wani’s father is a lecturer and his brother Mubashir Ahmad is a junior engineer.
Reports said clashes erupted between youth and governments in Kupwara and Handwara soon after the news of Wani killing spread.
Earlier, at around 2:30 am government forces had launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) at Shatgund Qalamabad after receiving intelligence inputs about the militants in the area.
A police official said that after establishing initial contact with militants, the fire fight stopped for some time. After a brief lull, the gunfight raged again during which two militants were killed.