Locals in the Malangpora area of Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir helped escape at least two to three militants, several news reports said. A stone-pelting mob clashed with the security forces, who had launched a cordon and search operation after reports emerged that suspected militants were trapped in the area.
According to latest reports one terrorist has been neutralised during the encounter.
According to a report by CNN-News 18, suspected terrorists were holed up in the area, however, locals helped them flee during massive midnight protests. India Today TV also reported that the terrorists, identified as top Hizbul Mujahideen commanders, escaped early morning on Monday as the locals disrupted the search operations being carried out since Sunday evening.
India Today reported that three militants are suspected to be holed up, of which two have been identified as Reyaz Naikoo, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander and his aide Saifulla Mir. The report further said that public speakers in the area are blaring messages urging locals to “protect their brothers” and disrupt the action taken by security forces. Naikoo was made commander of the terror outfit in May this year, after Sabzar Ahmed Bhat was killed during an encounter in Tral.
On Saturday, security forces killed top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Bashir Lashkari who masterminded the gruesome murder of six policemen, including officer Feroz Dar last month, in an encounter following a cordon operation.
Two civilians were also killed near the site of the gunfight where a stone-pelters had gathered to disrupt the operation.
Lashkari belonged to Sopshali village in Kokernag area of Anantnag district. He carried a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head.
As news about Lashkari’s death spread in Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian districts, people began flocking to Sopshali village.
Separatist leaders have called for a protest shutdown in the Valley on Sunday against the killing of the two militants and the two civilians in Brenthi Batapora village.
By: First Post
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