Two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, including a Ph.D. scholar-turned-terrorist commander Manan Bashir Wani, were killed on Thursday in an encounter with the security forces at Handwara in Kupwara district of North Kashmir.

In another incident, a Hurriyat activist and former militant Tariq Ahmad Ganie were shot dead by unidentified terrorists near his home at Meemender village in the Shopian district of South Kashmir.

Police said the encounter at Handwara broke out in the early hours at Satgund in Handwara following specific intelligence inputs about the presence of the 27-year-old Wani along with two other terrorists.

Reports said that the security forces were fired upon by the holed up terrorists resulting in an exchange of fire which continued till 11 am.

The killing of the terrorists triggered violent protests in the area and groups of youth started pelting stones at the security forces.

Police made repeated announcements on the public address system appealing the terrorists to surrender.

There was a lull in firing at around 9 am, prompting the police to initiate search operation at the encounter site but it had to be suspended when firing resumed after about 15 minutes.

Hurriyat activist Ganie was fired upon by gunmen near his home at Meemender village. He received serious bullet wounds and was taken to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The separatists have called for a shutdown on Friday to protest against the killing of Manan Wani and the other terrorist.

Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in a series of tweets about the killing of the scholar, turned terrorist said, “Today, a Ph.D. scholar chose death over life & was killed in an encounter. His death is entirely our loss as we are losing young educated boys every day. It is high time that all the political parties in the country realise the gravity of this situation and try to facilitate a solution through dialogue with all the stakeholders including Pakistan to end this bloodshed.”