Pulwama: A Pakistani militant carrying a bounty for his role in Udhampur attack last year, Abu Okasha, has been killed in an encounter in Pulwama district but a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander and four other ultras managed to escape the security ring due to alleged connivance of locals.
NIA had announced a reward of Rs five lakh on information leading to arrest of Okasha, a resident of Khyber Paktukhwa in Pakistan. It had recovered his photograph during raids at various terror hideouts in the Valley in connection with his involvement in the Udhampur terror attack in which a Pakistani LeT terrorist Mohammed Naved Yakub was arrested.
The sources said LeT’s Kashmir chief Abu Dujana was among those who managed to escape from the encounter site as local residents allegedly diverted the attention of security forces by pelting stones at them.
The encounter broke out as security forces were conducting search operations in Puchal area of Awantipora and shots were heard from nearby Goripora village, an official said.
He said reinforcements were immediately rushed to Goripora and a cordon was laid around the village to prevent the militants from fleeing.
The militants fired towards the security personnel who retaliated, leading to fierce exchange of gunfire, the official said.
Two militants were killed in the exchange of firing but five of their accomplices managed to escape, the official said adding the bodies of the slain ultras have been recovered.
As the security forces were battling the militants, a group of local residents started pelting stones at the security personnel, the official said.
The incident diverted the attention of security personnel and allowed the other militants to escape from the cordon, the official said.
Dujana took over operational command of Lashkar following the killing of Abu Qasim in Kulgam area of south Kashmir in October last year.