Srinagar, April 12 (Khalid Gull): Just as government forces were using an earthmover to search for bodies of three militants under the debris of burnt down houses they believed were killed during a long gun battle Wednesday, the militants appeared at Quimoh market on bikes performing stunts amid a jubilating crowd.
All the three militants trapped inside a military cordon had managed to escape with the help of protestors who had thronged the encounter site.
As the forces declared the operation over villagers rushed to the spot of the gun battle when locals started talking about details of how the militants had escaped.
Soon the escaped militants appeared in Quimoh market, not far from the site where guns had raged for hours. Hundreds later assembled in the market area and jostled for a glimpse of the militants one of whom had received a bullet in his leg, witnesses said.
The militants celebrated their escape from the deathly cordon by firing their guns in the air, shouting pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans and praise for Islam. The assembled people responded with equal enthusiasm, according to witnesses.
All the three were then taken away in a procession before people made sure they were sent to safety, the witnesses said.