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Security forces step up ops in J&K

A Kashmiri militant firing his gun to salute slain LeT member Shakoor Ahmad Dar in Kulgam district.

A Kashmiri militant firing his gun to salute slain LeT member Shakoor Ahmad Dar in Kulgam district.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

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Rules of engagement change; area domination exercise intensifies in south Kashmir’s residential areas

South Kashmir’s Devsar witnessed six rounds of funeral prayers for slain Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant Shakoor Ahmad Dar and gun salutes by militants on Monday, but the security forces are fast changing the rules of engagement on the ground to step up the offensive against militants and protesters in the Valley.

The police data since June 20 when Governor N.N. Vohra took over the reins of J&K, shows a sudden upward jump in area domination exercise carried out by security forces in south Kashmir’s dense residential areas.

“The pockets in south Kashmir that harbour militants and provide logistics will see a relentless offensive to flush them out and strike hard at the support structure,” said a police official.

In just five days, the Army led 16 major cordon and search operations (CASOs) in south Kashmir alone, where house-to-house searches were carried out.

Three operations against holed-up militants left eight, mainly locals militants, dead. One policeman was also killed.

On a local militant’s surrender at the encounter site in Kulgam on Sunday, an Army spokesman said, “Local militants ready to give up arms will be spared.”

However, the police admit, the new post-Ramzan ‘cease ops’ offensive is “yet to contain locals’ participation in stone-pelting in and around the encounter sites.”

“Funerals remain a matter of concern. We are planning to cut off and isolate villages of slain militants to reduce the numbers on the day of funeral,” said an official in the counter-insurgency cell.

Stone-pelting incidents

Since Governor’s rule was imposed, 24 incidents of heavy stone-pelting and rioting, left three civilians dead and over 50 injured.

Two civilians died at the Khiram encounter site and another at the Qoimoh encounter site, allegedly caught in the “crossfire.”

In comparison, the entire month of Ramzan saw just 50 incidents of stone-pelting.

However, 20 militants, mainly infiltrators, were killed. Of 55 persons injured in grenade attacks and stone-pelting, 27 were security personnel.

The security forces have also adopted a strict standard operating procedure (SOP) towards streets protests. A student, Ubaid Manzoor from Baramulla’s Nadihal, sustained firearm injury in the thigh when a security force patrol was pelted with stones by a small group in Baramulla, otherwise a peaceful area of north Kashmir.

Meanwhile, separatists’s group Joint Resistant Leadership organised a day-long shutdown in the Valley over “rising civilian casualties” on Monday. .

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 12:55:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/security-forces-step-up-ops-in-jk/article24256013.ece

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