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Two HM militants killed near Srinagar

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The building, in which the militants were hiding, was blasted by the security forces during the encounter. Photo/Javed Khan

Srinagar: Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including an M.Phil degree holder, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Nowgam area of the city on Wednesday.

The slain militants have been identified as Sabzar Ahmad Sofi, an M.Phil scholar who had joined the militant ranks, and Asif Ahmad.

Sofi, who had completed M.Sc from Barkatullah University in Bhopal and M.Phil from Gowwalya University of Rajasthan, had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen, a day after Burhan Wani was killed in July 2016.

The 33-year old Sofi also held B.Ed degree and had cleared the National Eligibility Test and Junior Research Fellowship.

He is third highly educated person to have been killed this year after joining militancy.

Earlier this month, AMU scholar turned militant Manaan Bashir Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district while an assistant professor from Kashmir University Mohammad Rafi Bhat was killed in a gunfight in Shopian district two days after joining the militant ranks in May this year.

There has been an increasing trend of well educated youth joining militancy in recent years.

Esa Fazli, an engineering graduate from Ghulam Shah Badshah University, was killed in a gun battle earlier this year as well.

After Fazli’s joining, an MBA student Junaid Ashraf Sehrai, son of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Chairman Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, also disappeared to join the militant groups.

Meanwhile, a police spokesman said that acting on a tip off about presence of militants in Suthu Kothair locality of Nowgam, security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the early hours.

He said the militants opened fire during the search operation, triggering a gunbattle in which both the militants were killed.

The spokesman identified the militants as Sabzar Ahmad Sofi and Asif Ahmad Shergojiri. Both were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen.

Sabzar Ahmad Sofi son of Bashir Ahmad Sofi resident of Naina Sangam in district Anantnag had joined militant ranks in year 2016 and was involved in several attacks on security establishments and many other civilian atrocities in district Anantnag, the spokesman said.

He was involved in many militanvy related cases including FIR No. 22/2018 under section 13 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act at Police Station Bijbehara, said the spokesman, adding, he was involved in killing of one civilian lady namely Biba wife of Mohammad Yousuf Matto resident of Naina Batapora on the evening of 28-10-2016.

The spokesman further said that Asif Ahmad Shergojiri alias Khubaib son of Ali Mohammad Shergojiri resident of Khiram Anantnag had joined the militant ranks this year in January and was actively involved in attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities in the area.

“After wrapping up the operation, recovering the dead bodies of the militants and arms and ammunition, the operational parties took security precautions with regard to sanitization of the area and advising people not the unnecessarily visit and temper with the site of encounter. The police advised the people of the locality that anything found suspicious in nature, which could possibly be some explosive material, should be reported to Police so that any inadvertent and avoidable loss to any member of the civil society could be avoided,” he added.

Incriminating material besides arms and ammunition were recovered from the encounter site, he said.

Clashes broke out between protestors and security forces soon after the encounter ended, he said, adding the law enforcing agencies were engaged in pitched battles with the stone pelters for most part of the day.

Authorities snapped mobile Internet services in the city and shut educational institutions as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Dr. Mohammad Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik has called for a complete shutdown on 25 October 2018 Thursday to protest the killing of two Hizbul Mujahideen militants.

The leadership has also asked people to hold ‘peaceful protests’ after Friday prayers.

Meanwhile, All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, in a statement issued today said: “Wounds of Dr. Manan’s martyrdom were still oozing, the deep and sorrowful separation of yet another budding intellectual Dr. Sabzar was inflicted this morning. Such tragic incidents, although part of freedom struggle, but certainly are enough to sadden the whole nation.”

He telephonically addressed the people assembled to offer Nimaz-e-Jinaza of the slain militant along with his close associate Asif Ahmad.

He appealed the youth to strictly follow the glorious path of Quran and Sunnah, have unity and discipline, not fall prey to sectarian conflicts and honestly and sincerely contribute to the ongoing movement in whatever way they can.

In the meantime, thousands of mourners on Wednesday took part in funeral prayers of slain militant Sabzar Sofi while his associates, including top commander Zeenat ul Islam, offered him a gun salute at his native Sangam area of Bijbehara in south Kashmir.

Reports said that at least six militants, including Zeenat ul Islam, appeared in the funeral of Sofi and offered him a gun salute.

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