Last Saturday’s Puttur operation showcased the heroics of the men in khaki who nabbed two terror suspects - Panna Ismail and Bilal Malik. Along with them was a braveheart civilian, who took nearly as much risk as the police to support the operation. He has gone unsung, but has no problems with that.
At a time when the terror suspects were threatening to blew up the house they were holed up in, K Srinivas (25), a resident of the Gate Puttur area, spent nearly seven hours on the terrace of the house, trying to coax Ismail and Malik out of the house. He, along with a sub-inspector and a constable from the Chittoor police, dropped sound shells and tear gas shells into the house, which ultimately forced the duo to surrender. Srinivas actually had a narrow escape when one of the sound shells went off even before they could release it.
“When I saw a huge number of policemen posted in our area, I was curious. I so-
on learned that two most wanted terrorists were holed up in a house there and the police were weighing options as the militants had threatened to blow up the house using an LPG cylinder. I immediately volunteered to help and the police officers accepted it as I knew the local geography well,” says Srinivas, whose family migrated from Chennai to Puttur a generation ago.
Initially, he helped the police evacuate residents in the area and place barricades to prevent people from entering the street. When the operation shifted to the terrace of the house, he volunteered to join the police there.
“I knew I was risking my life as terrorists could be ruthless. But if fate willed that I must die, it could as well happen in, say, a road accident. Better dying while fighting terrorists than in a road accident,” he says.
Srinivas works as a salesman in a tobacco company.
“I did not expect any laurels as I merely did what any ordinary citizen must have done. My life’s ambition is to join the police, but in my earlier attempts, I couldn’t make it. I hope I will improve my performance and get selected at least in my next attempt,” he says.