Security forces faced a major challenge on Thursday when a mob tried to barge into the raging gunfight at an encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district to save a trapped local militant commander.
At around 5:30, heavily armed security forces accompanied by bullet-proof vehicles threw a cordon around Puchul village. The security forces were working on intelligence about the presence of a militant.
"As we zeroed in on a house where the militant was hiding, the security forces faced a barrage of bullets even before the security personnel would ask him for surrender. The fire was retaliated, triggering a gunfight," SSP Pulwama Amit Kumar told the Hindustan Times.
As the firefight was raging between the security forces and the militant, many villagers, sensing that a local militant was trapped by the security forces, assembled near the encounter site.
"More than hundred civilians tried to enter into the encounter site and started pelting stones. It did disrupt the onslaught of security forces on the hiding militant initially," said Kumar.
Security forces baton charged and fired tear-smoke shells to push the villagers away from the encounter site. "It was for their safety that we lathicharged," said Kumar. Three civilians were injured in the stone-throwing clashes with security forces.
The militant was killed in the encounter. "A district commander of the LeT was killed in the encounter, which was on for around 10 hours," said Kumar.
The slain LeT commander, a local, was identified as Shakoor Ahmad Teli alias Abu Baker. "We had to blow three rooms of the house where the militant commander was hiding. There was no other collateral damage in the encounter," said SSP Kumar.