Two terrorists, including top Hizbul commander, Manan Wani, were killed in a gunfight encounter with the security forces in Handwara area of North Kashmir’s frontier district Kupwara on October 11.
A police official, while confirming the killing of two terrorists in a gunfight that raged intermittently since 3:00 am in Shatgund, Handwara, following a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO), said identity of the slain terrorists is being ascertained.
While speaking to Republic, top Police senior officer, while wishing anonymity, said that Wani was enrolled as a PhD scholar with the AMU before joining the ranks in January this year. However, sources said Wani along with two of his accomplice had come to the area to receive a group of recently infiltrated terrorists. “There is possibility that the infiltrated group is hiding in the nearby forest area and the operation may take longer than usual,” he revealed.
Meanwhile, authorities have suspended the Internet services in the Kupwara district “as a precautionary measure”. Schools and colleges have also been closed in the district and also in South Kashmir.
Reports said clashes erupted near the gunfight site with youth pelting the forces with stones who responded by firing tear gas. Clashes were also reported in Lal Chowk, Anantnag. This is the first encounter reported in the valley after municipal election began in J&K.
On 27th September, encounter was reported from Panzan , Budgam district of South Kashmir. In an encounter at Panzan in Budgam district, security forces had "neutralised" two terrorists. The slain terrorists were identified as Sheeraz Ahmad Bhat and Irfan Ahmad Dar of terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.
"Dar was working as an SPO before deserting the police force a couple of months ago," police spokesman claims.
The police spokesman that time had said the terrorists fired on a search party from a mosque, prompting the security personnel to cordon off the area. "The local Auqaf Committee was engaged to convince the hiding terrorists to come out. Security forces too appealed the terrorists to come out," said the police spokesperson.
But they turned down the offer, forcing the security personnel to launch the operation. The forces carried out the operation "very cautiously", ensuring that the sanctity of the mosque is not breached, he said.