Pulwama, Militants escaped after exchanging heavy fire with government forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district late on Tuesday night, officials said on Wednesday.
A joint party of Army, J&K Police and CRPF had cordoned off Hakdipora village last evening. “The hiding militants opened fire which was retaliated to, triggering an encounter which continued for more than 30 minutes,” a police official said.
He said the operation was suspended due to darkness but the siege remained in place for the entire night. “The militants went into hiding after exchange of fire and managed to give a slip to forces. The cordon was lifted in the morning,” the official said.
He said the operation was launched after tip-off about presence of militants, including LeT’s Kashmir chief Abu Dujana and his three associates, in the area.
Officials said soon after a cordon was laid, people from nearby villages reached the gunfight site and pelted stones on the forces personnel who retaliated with teargas shelling, triggering clashes. “It seems people engaging the forces provided a chance to militants to break the cordon and escape. There was no fresh firing after we established contact with militants in the evening. It seems militants may have escaped from the cordon last night itself,” they said.
Meanwhile, officials said government forces cordoned off Pahoo, Ratnipora and Pinglena villages in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday evening.
“The siege was laid following inputs about the presence of militants in the area,” a police official said, adding that searches were on in these areas.