Indian forces yesterday killed a Kashmir militant leader who became a folk hero in the troubled territory after giving up geology research at an Indian university to become a militant, officials said.
Manan Wani, 26, and an associate were killed in a fierce gunfight that lasted more than 10 hours after security forces were tipped off that he was hiding in a residential area, officials told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"Wani's family have identified the body and now legal formalities are underway," one police officer said.
Another police officer said Wani and his associate escaped a first siege but became trapped in a village in the northern area of Handwara, where they were killed.
Wani quit a PhD programme at Aligarh University in January to join Hizbul Mujahideen, the biggest group fighting for Kashmir's merger with Pakistan.
He rose to prominence after circulating two open letters in the Indian media explaining why he took up arms.
"We are soldiers we don't fight to die, but to win, we don't feel dignity in death but we do feel dignity in fighting (Indian)- occupation, its military might, its oppression, its tyranny, its collaborators and most of all its ego," Manan Wani wrote in his first letter in July.
The scholar-turned-rebel died not far from his home in the densely militarised frontier area of Kupwara.