Days after a PhD scholar from Aligarh Muslim University was killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir, an MPhil scholar was among two militants killed in a gunfight Wednesday morning on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Sabzar Ahmad Sofi (31) is the second scholar killed in the Valley this month after Manan Wani, who quit a PhD programme from AMU, was killed on October 11 at Handwara in north Kashmir.
The killing of Sofi and another militant, Asif Ahmad, both from south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, triggered clashes between protesters and police in Srinagar and south Kashmir.
After information about the presence of two militants on the outskirts of Srinagar Tuesday night, a joint team of the J&K Police, Army and paramilitary forces cordoned off the Suthoo Kothair village. As the joint team zeroed in on the target house, a militant hiding in an abandoned house opened fire triggering a gunfight.
“During the search operation, terrorists fired upon the search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter,” a police statement said. “In the ensuing encounter, two terrorists were killed”.
A resident of Naina village in south Kashmir’s Sangam, Sabzar had qualified NET and JRF and was preparing for the UPSC examinations before joining militant ranks in July 2016 after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. He completed his Masters in Botany from Barkatullah University, source said.
The second slain militant Asif Ahmad, who had joined militant ranks recently, hails from Sirhama village of south Kashmir.
Scores of people, mostly youngsters, attended the funeral of Sabzar and Asif at their native villages. At Sangam, thousands offered were present for Sabzar’s funeral and at least six militants appeared at his funeral to offer a gun salute, sources said. The militants included Zeenat-ul-Islam, one of the most wanted commanders of the Hizbul Mujahideen in south Kashmir.
Later, at least three protesters in Srinagar and south Kashmir were injured after clashes with police and paramilitary forces. Sources said the three protesters were hit by pellets and taken to hospital. In Srinagar’s Nowgam and Sangam, people took to the streets to protest against the killing and threw stones at security forces, who fired tear gas shells to disperse them.