Pattan, Nov 9: Residents of Sadmohalla Pattan and other adjoining areas on Friday morning demonstrated on Srinagar-Varmul highway against the siege by soldiers which was lifted after four days today.
Hundreds of protesters raising anti-troops and pro-freedom slogans staged a sit-in and blocked vehicular movement. "From the day encounter started we are unaware about the whereabouts of our relatives," the protesters said.
Army soldiers on Tuesday cordoned off Sadmohalla and launched searches. Militants holed up inside the besieged area had fired upon the search party of the troops which was retaliated triggering an encounter. The 68-hour gunfight between the militants and troopers ended Friday morning.
The protesters were joined by chairman of National Front and senior Hurriyat (M) leader Nayeem Ahmed Khan.
Police reached the spot and beat up the protesters with batons, and fired teargas canisters to disperse them.
The protesters offered stiff resistance and clashed with policemen and smashed the windowpanes of the vehicles. Later police arrested Khan and lodged him in Mirgund Police post.
After the siege was lifted in the afternoon, hundreds of people including men and women assembled in the area ad rushed towards their houses.
The residents were shocked to see the trail of destruction that the encounter left behind. Women were wailing and children were crying.
Gulshana, 40, of Nazar mohalla was frantically searching for her husband. "We were running for safety from one house to another after the encounter started. Army soldiers entered one of the houses where we had taken shelter and took my husband Abdul Hamid Tantray along with them. God knows what they did to him."
Raja of Sadmohalla said that jewelry worth lakhs was stolen from her house which suffered partial damage in the gunfight.
"My daughter's wedding was scheduled next month. Now what will I do?" Raja asked this reporter.
"We've been rendered homeless," screamed another woman.