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Massive anti-militancy operation launched in Kashmir’s Shopian district

Jawans patrol during a crackdown to flush out militants in Shopian on Thursday.

Jawans patrol during a crackdown to flush out militants in Shopian on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

South Kashmir has seen a spate of attacks on banks, especially in southern districts of Shopian and Pulwama.

Security forces on Thursday conducted an eight-hour counter-insurgency operation in 12 villages of south Kashmir’s Shopian district. The effort was to push back militants and dominate the district that has seen heightened militancy this week.

Hours later, militants attacked the Army and injured three personnel.

The operation was launched around 8 a.m. Over 3,000 security personnel, including jawans from Sector 1 and Sector 2, cordoned off villages, orchards and forest areas in Shopian, around 60 km south of Srinagar.

“We conducted house-to-house searches in several localities,” a senior police official told The Hindu. Drones and helicopters were also used to dominate the area.

CRPF and police personnel, who were part of the law and order component, faced protests by residents of Turkawangam, Sugan and Maldera villages. The villagers alleged their houses were ransacked during the operation.

Several vehicles were damaged by the security forces, alleged locals. Four youths sustained pellet injuries during the protests and were taken to hospitals

 

Tear-smoke shells were used to disperse stone-throwing protesters. Fresh protests erupted in Shopian town too when the operation was called off around 3.30 p.m.

The security operation was on the lines of the 1990s crackdown where several localities would be put under siege. However, such operations were called off as militancy started waning in 2000. Locals claimed one militant was arrested during the operation.

Hizbul Mujahideen’s Zeenat-ul-Islam and Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Waseem Shah allegedly hold sway in the district. Police sources said the operation was meant to push back militants and dominate built-up areas where they suspected support for militancy.

Many militant groups reportedly have found “safe havens” in these villages. “We believe a recent video uploaded by the militants was shot in the orchards of Shopian,” said a police officer.

 

The crackdown comes in the wake of three bank robberies, killing of seven people and snatching of 10 service rifles in Shopian and nearby Pulwama districts.

Meanwhile, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said in New Delhi that the operation was necessitated as some banks were looted and some policemen killed.

Hours after the operation, militants opened fire on a vehicle carrying Army jawans from 62 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) at Shopian’s Kellora village. Preliminary reports suggested three soldiers were injured. However, a civilian driver was killed in the firing.

 

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 11:09:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/massive-anti-militancy-operation-launched-in-shopian/article18382586.ece

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