Residents of Gate Street in Putthur never would have imagined that they would wake up to a busy Saturday as Police, special forces from CRPF and Octopus, a special anti-terror force from Hyderabad hindered their normal lives. Armed with sophisticated armaments, the team arrived to fight a 'family' living in the area for last one and a half year.
Puthur is town located 60 kms from Chithoor in Andhra Pradesh. The local police in Puthur had no inkling about the persons they were dealing with, according to Reddappa, a police officer deputed outside the residence on Gate Street, where the suspectes had stacked weapons and cash. They were living in an adjoining Mosque Street. Bilal, Ismail, with one lady and three children.
When one of their accomplice, Fakruddin, was arrested in Chennai on Friday night, the police were alerted about Puthur operation following the tip off by him. Puthur police lead by Inspector Lakshman were told to arrest Bilal, a rice merchant. When Lakshman knocked on the door seeking to question Bilal, he was pulled inside and held hostage. Within 20 minutes more police gathered in frot of a tiled house on Mosque Street and started to open fire in order to rescue the police officer. Bilal, who was hit by a bullet on the right arm, pushed the lady, children and Ismail to adjoining room before pushing out severely injured lakshman out, and locked the door from inside. Lakshman was immediately rushed to CMC in Vellore where he is being treated. One more version says he was rushed to Chennai hospital.
By 5.30 am local police strengthened by the arrival of CRPF force completely sorrounded the house and were waiting for arrival of Octopus ATS team from Hyderabad to handle the situation. The 30 member special squad cordoned off the area and covered the surrounding with shamiyana covers to avoid public intervention. The rapid action was delayed as Bilal threatened to blow up the explosives they have. The stand off continued till 1.30 pm, when the police decided to fire a tear gas shell into the house. Following this, the lady and children were sent out and Bilal laid the condition that and ambulance be brought to the spot, only then Bilal and Ismail would come out.
Police held the lady and children in adjoining house until Bilal and Ismail were brought out and all of them were packed into the ambulance and taken to Chennai. In all the whole operation lasted for more than 12 hours.
Once the arrests were successfully completed, the search operation in the house on Gate Street was held where many arms and cash ware seized. According to Razia, a tenant in the ground floor, had no idea of credentials of their neighbour, who only used the house on Gate Street to store water and visited the place once in two or three days. They used the other house on Mosque Street for living.