Swift operations of commandos from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to nab the two key suspects of 2011-Advani bomb and other cases, caught the sleepy town of Puttur in Chithoor district totally unaware of the fact that the most wanted were living amongst them for a while now.
On specific inputs, police knocked the door of the old tile-roofed house at 43, Madar Street, which was just a hop from Puttur Railway Station around 4.30 am, before which hundreds of police personnel surrounded the place and advised neighbours to stay indoors, police said.
"When the police said we wanted to search the house to Malik's wife, who attended the door, the policeman was pulled in and attacked by sharp weapons. He was stabbed in his head and shoulder," TS Anbu, Superintendent of Police, who was part of the team said.
But, once the policeman was severely injured, they pulled him out through the broken door. Other policemen rushed him to a hospital in Chennai, they said.
Since then, it was a long deal for police to persuade the occupants of the house to surrender, after realising a woman and three children were with the accused, they said, adding, efforts were parallelly on to face any violent reactions.
Meanwhile, police personnel in the peripheral areas evacuated people in the neighbourhood to safer places, in case of an encounter.
"I came out of the house around 4.30 AM and saw police vehicles on my street. They adviced me to go to a safe place, since they were about to begin an important operation to arrest some big terrorist," Muthammal, who lives just five buildings away from the house, said.
The quiet of area of Gate Puttur, except for occasional noise of trains crossing the station, had put on a Warfield-like look with hundreds of heavily armed personnel staging a besiege of the spot.
With indications of the accused not giving in to the demands of the police to surrender "We drilled holes on the roof of the house and injected tear gas shells, after which they accepted to send the children (four, three and one year olds) and Malik's wife out. The four were sent to their native," Anbu said.
It was after 10 hours, between 2 pm and 3 pm did the occupants started to emerge out of the house.
The success of Puttur operations were to be "credited to the use of tear gas shells", police said.