At least two suspected militants were shot dead on Wednesday morning during a gunfight at Soothu Kothair locality in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowgam village, ANI reported. The area was cordoned off, the police said. Nowgam is located on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Six armed forces personnel sustained injuries in the encounter, according to News18. The police said they found “incriminating materials including arms and ammunition from the site”.
The administration ordered the closure of all schools and colleges in Srinagar district and suspended internet services in Srinagar and Budgam as a “precautionary measure” to avoid a “law and order situation”.
The militants were identified as Sabzar Ahmad Sofi and Ashiq Gojri, both residents of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Sofi was a research scholar who joined militancy after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016, the Hindustan Times reported. Media reports said Sofi was pursuing PhD in Botany from Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi.
Jamia Millia Islamia denied Sofi was a former research student of its university. “No such student by the name of Sabzar Ahmad Sofi has ever been on the roll of the university or registered as research student,” the statement said, according to PTI. “Moreover, we do not have any Botany department in the University.”
Protestors clashed with security forces to oppose the operation. Demonstrators also clashed with the police in Sangam and Sirhama areas, when bodies of Sofi and Gojri reached their native villages. As many as four people were injured when police personnel used tear gas shells and pellets to disperse the crowd. A big funeral procession was held for Sofi at Sangam, with some militants responding with a gun salute.
Sofi is the second research scholar killed in an operation by security forces in Kashmir. Mannan Bashir Wani, a scholar at the Aligarh Muslim University who joined militancy in January, was among two Hizbul Mujahideen militants killed in an encounter in Handwara town earlier this month.
On October 21, security forces gunned down three militants in an encounter in Kulgam, after which seven civilians were killed in an explosion at the site. Separatist group Joint Resistance Leadership had called for a shutdown to protest the civilian deaths. Soon after the encounter, the police tweeted that civilians ignored requests to avoid visiting the site while they searched for explosives.
Later that day, two suspected militants and three Indian security force personnel were killed in a gunfight that followed an infiltration attempt from the Pakistani side in the Sunderbani sector.