Amritsar encounter: Heavy gunfire reminded villagers of terror-struck days

AMRITSAR: It was a blast from the past, quite literally, for the people of Bhakna and nearby villages in Amritsar, when they were asked to abandon their fields on Wednesday morning as police rained bullets at a house where the alleged killers of Sidhu Moosewala were hiding.

The villagers said the sound of gunfire reminded them of the 1980s, when terrorism was at its peak in Punjab.

Gangsters Jagroop Singh Roopa and Manpreet Singh alias Mannu Kusa were killed by the Punjab Police in Amritsar in an encounter that went on for around five hours on Wednesday, police said.

Farmers, who usually go to their fields in the morning, were asked to rush back to their homes as police and the gangsters exchanged gunfire.

As the firing began, women working in the fields ran back to their homes and stopped their children from venturing out.

"The heavy movement of police vehicles once again reminded us of the time from the late 1980s, the black days of terrorism in Punjab," Inderjit Singh of Khasa village said.

"People were scared as they were confined to their homes. They were unable to bring fodder for their livestock," he added.

The violent exchange left bullet marks even on a combine harvester machine that stood in the field, which became the site of the encounter.

"We were harvesting maize. All of a sudden police vehicles arrived and the firing started. The driver of our combine machine was asked to go back," said another villager.

The area was cordoned off during the operation and people were asked to stay indoors, police said.

Police personnel wearing bulletproof jackets were seen taking cover behind a tractor and a trolley near the building where the gangsters were hiding.

Two armoured vehicles and some bulletproof vehicles were also deployed during the operation.

Singer Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, was shot dead in Punjab's Mansa district on May 29.


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