Srinagar: Two terrorists, including an MPhil degree holder, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Nowgam area of Srinagar on Wednesday

The two killed were from terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, and have been identified as Sabzar Ahmad Sofi, a Ph.D. scholar who had joined the militant ranks, and Asif Ahmad, an official said.

Sofi, who was pursuing Ph.D. in Botany from Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi, had joined the militant ranks in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.

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.

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.

"The standard operating procedures were followed during the operation and there was no collateral damage during the encounter," the official added.

Acting on a tip-off about the presence of militants in Suthu Kothair locality of Nowgam, security forces launched a cordon and search operation in early hours of the morning, a police official said.

He said the militants opened fire on security forces during the search operation, triggering an encounter.

Incriminating material besides arms and ammunition were recovered from the encounter site, the official added.

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 the most part of the day.

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

With PTI inputs