Manan changed base to revive militancy in northern Kashmir: Police

“He was assigned to rope in local youth of northern districts through his posts on social media and personal approach,” the police officer told Greater Kashmir on the condition of anonymity.

Srinagar, October 12:

The PhD scholar-turned-militant Manan Wani, who was killed along with his associate in Handwara, had been selected to change his base to revive militancy in his home district Kupwara, a senior police officer claimed Thursday.

Manan, a PhD scholar from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), who joined Hizbul Mujahideen on January 10 this year, managed his entry into Handwara last week, according to the police.

“He was assigned to rope in local youth of northern districts through his posts on social media and personal approach,” the police officer told Greater Kashmir on the condition of anonymity.

“On October 8, the police received inputs about his entry from south to north, but his location couldn’t be traced,” he said.

Another senior police officer said that Manan is believed to have travelled alone from southern Shopian district to Handwara in a public vehicle where he met a new Hizb recruit Ashiq of Tulwari, Langate. The police believe that Manan “perhaps wanted to first meet his family, first time after he joined Hizb in January this year, and later select a place for his hideout in his hometown.”

“Every militant feels safe in his home district,” the officer said.

Police said on October 10 evening, they received a “credible lead” about the presence of militants in Shatgund area of Handwara.

“The first cordon was launched at around 2 in the night when forces zeroed in on at least 15 suspected houses,” the officer said, wishing not to be quoted as he is not authorised to speak to media.

During the search, the officer said, first contact was established at around 2:30 am.

“Manan and his aide, Ashiq threw grenades at us and resorted to indiscriminate firing that was retaliated,” he said. “After a brief lull, they perhaps shifted to another house. Now that we were sure about militants’ presence, we launched a deliberate operation, strengthened the layers of cordon and waited for the dawn.”

At around 7 am, the contact with the militants was again established leading to a fierce gun-battle, he said.

“Manan again lobbed grenades at the forces and then resorted to indiscriminate firing. He and Ashiq came out of the house where they were hiding and took positions in an open area,” said another police officer. “He gave a good fight. Knowing that he has been surrounded from all corners, he fired all the bullets he had in his magazine before getting killed.”

For the police, Manan was an “ordinary militant like his aide Ashiq.”

“He was not even A-category militant. But yes, qualification-wise he was known through social media. But he is not the first militant having good academic qualification,” an intelligence officer said.

Asked whether his killing may trigger protests in Kashmir, he said: “We are keeping a close track of developments taking place. We are ready to deal with any situation.”

Manan had written a couple of articles wherein he had justified his decision of picking up arms. His first write-up released through Hizb media cell to a local news agency a few months back, read: “The militants don’t fight to die but to win and don’t feel dignity in death but feel dignity in fighting forces.”

Before Manan joined Hizb, other youth like Esa Fazli, a B.Tech student from Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University Rajouri, also joined the militant ranks.

After his joining, an MBA student Junaid Ashraf, the son of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, landed in Hizb.

An assistant professor of Kashmir University Muhammad Rafi also joined Hizb a few months after Manan’s joining. He was however killed on the very second day of his joining militancy in Shopian district.

“His (Manan’s) writings definitely had a tinge of attraction for the other youth to join militancy,” a police official said.


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