- 4000 security personnel cordoned off nearly 20 villages and launched searches in homes and orchards
- This operation to clear South Kashmir of terrorists was perhaps the biggest in over a decade in the Valley
Helicopters and drones circled the air and over 4,000 troops fanned out across south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Thursday in a massive operation to flush out militants.
Forces comprising the Army, police and paramilitary cordoned off nearly 20 villages in Shopian and launched the search in the early hours. Residents resorted to massive stone pelting against the forces. The driver of a taxi being used by soldiers was killed.
The operation was perhaps the biggest in over a decade in the Valley, an Army official said.
Dozens injured in clashes were shifted to Srinagar hospital, including Shahid Ahmad, 20, of Turka Wangam, and Bilal Ahmad Dar, 15, of Sugan village who suffered pellet injuries in their eyes.
Terrorists also attacked a patrol party of 62 Rashtriya Rifles at Imamsahib. Sources said three soldiers were injured. A senior intelligence officer said a recent video of 30 militants roaming in the orchards, which went viral, was the trigger for the clean-up operation.
The operation saw re-introduction of door-to-door search of houses, a practice stopped in the late 1990s. The troops asked villagers to assemble in a common area so their homes could be searched. The operation followed intelligence inputs about the presence of militants, including foreign terrorists, in the area, an official said. However, no contact had been established with the militants so far.
Later, forces carried out a ‘reverse sweep’ to ensure that the militants hadn’t slipped back in. Security forces also laid a cordon in Khudwani of Kulgam district after a tip-off about the presence of LeT militants, but militants escaped with public support, a cop said.
Meanwhile, J&K police announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on the head of Umer Majid, a suspected Hizb militant responsible for killing seven people including five cops at Kulgam earlier this week.
Courtesy: Times of India