Thursday, May 24, 2018 | 1:17 AM

Indian forces conduct 2nd major search operation in south Kashmir villages in 2 weeks

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Many civilians injured, some hit by pellets 
For the second time in a fortnight, troops launched a massive combing and search operation (COSA) in Shopian villages on Wednesday though without any success.

There were clashes between youth and security personnel during the operation. In the clashes, over two dozen people suffered injuries and some of them were hit by pellets.

According to local sources, army, police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) and CRPF men laid siege around Heff, Shirmal and some adjoining villages in Shopian early Wednesday morning and conducted house to house searches.

“We were ordered to come out of the houses at the break of dawn following which the forces conducted house to house searches,” a local was quoted by a Srinagar-based daily as having said.

S P Shopian, A S Dinkar, was quoted by Srinagar-based English daily Rising Kashmir as having said that the operation was launched following inputs regarding presence of militants in the villages.

The locals, however, said no militants were present in the area and alleged that the operation was launched to frighten the villagers.

As the forces were conducting searches, clashes erupted as large number of locals started throwing stones at them.

The locals said that highhandedness of forces forced them to stage protests.

“The force personnel beat people ruthlessly. Even girls were not spared. More than 50 girls were beaten inside their homes,” they said.

They said that the forces also damaged property and smashed windowpanes of houses and parked cars.

The families of at least three militants alleged that force personnel entered their houses and beat and harassed the inmates.

“They did not spare the women folk. They took away our mobile phones as well,” family members of a militant, Saddam Padder, told Rising Kashmir.

As per the family, Saddam’s mother was also beaten by the forces.

The locals staged protests against the forces highhandedness. They pelted stones on the force personnel forcing them to call off the operation.

The forces used tear smoke shells and pellet guns to disperse the protesting youth, injuring over two dozen people with some sustaining pellet injuries. Most of the injured were treated locally and are stable.

SP Shopian efuted the allegations of militant families being targeted by the forces.

“There was presence of militants and hence an operation was launched. The personnel on ground do not know the militant families. Why would families of militants be singled out and targeted? These are baseless allegations,” he said.

The police officer said the operation was called off as no contact was established with the militants. 

Today’s operation was the second major anti-militancy operation by troops in Shopian this month.

On May 4, at least 4000 army , police and paramilitary personnel had launched a major operation in Shopian.

During the operation, choppers and surveillance drones were pressed into service to assist troops on the ground. It reminded of the turbulent 1990’s when crackdowns by security personnel were rampant

The eight-hour long operation ended without security forces establishing any contact with the militants.

Source: Rising Kashmir