Villagers poured out of their homes and pelted stones on Friday after security forces cordoned off the village of Zakir Musa, the chief of Jammu and Kashmir’s Al Qaeda affiliate, officials said.

The clashes erupted as the security forces began conducting house-to-house searches in Noorpora village in Pulwama district.

Police said more security personnel — including the police, the Army and the Central Reserve Police Force — had been rushed to the area and three more villages were brought under the extended cordon.

There were unconfirmed reports that Zakir Musa, a former Hizbul Mujahideen commander, could be in the area. But there was no official word on him.

Zakir Musa broke off from Hizbul after declaring that the militancy in Kashmir was to set up a Caliphate.

This comes days after top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant Abu Dujana was eliminated in an encounter in Pulwama. He had gone to meet one of his women friends in Pulwama when he was circled by the security forces and police, following a tip off by local policemen who had been tracking him.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police, which had apparently been tracking the militant, called the killing of Abu Dujana, whom they described as the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander active in southern Kashmir since 2012, as a “huge achievement”.

(This is a developing story… More details are awaited)