Srinagar: Residents of Pulwama’s Newa area came out in large numbers and broke the cordon laid by government forces in Lonepora locality where militants, including a top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander, were believed to have been trapped, locals told Kashmir Reader.
The police strongly refuted such reports and said that the cordon and search operation was carried out peacefully.
According to the locals, the government forces including army and SOG laid a cordon around Lonepora locality on Monday night. “The moment they came and brought generators for lighting the area, there was announcement from Masjids to rescue the trapped militants,” locals said.
The locals said they pelted the government troops with stones during their search and cordon operation.
Superintendent of Police Pulwama, Rayees Bhat, told Kashmir Reader that the search and cordon operation was completed peacefully after four hours. “No militants were found in the area. The locals denied any presence of militants and no stone-pelting or any issue took place,” Bhat said.
In a statement issued to local news agency KNS, Lashkar-e-Toiba praised the Newa locals for “helping” militants to escape from the cordon. “LeT thanks the people of Newa for helping militants escape the Indian forces’ cordon,” said LeT spokesman.