Srinagar: In view of growing attacks on policemen and incidents of bank robberies, a massive ”cordon and combing” operation had been launched by the security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, reports said on Friday.
According to army sources, the massive door-to-door joint search operation launched by the Army, paramilitary and J&K Police is probably the biggest such exercise in the past 15 years in the violence-hit South Kashmir.
The ”The Indian Express” quoted a senior Army official as saying that an operation “of this magnitude has not been undertaken in Kashmir in the last 15 years”.
The operation was launched on Thursday evening after a vehicle carrying soldiers of 62 Rashtriya Rifles, who were involved in the operation, were attacked by militants near the Imam Sahib area, leading to the death of a civilian driver and injuries to four jawans.
Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen later claimed responsibility for the attack.
The driver who was killed in the attack had been identified as Nazir Ahmad, a resident of Kachdoora village in Shopian.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said that the combing operation was being carried out to bring the situation in the Valley under control.
“The combing operation is going on as some banks were looted and some policemen have been killed. It has been launched to ensure that the situation is brought under control. These operations are carried out regularly,” he said.
As per reports, nearly 20 villages in Shopian district were cordoned off and homes and orchards were thoroughly searched. During the combing operation, residents of Heaf, Sugan, Chilipora, Malnad, Turka Wangam and other villages resorted to massive stone pelting against the forces.
Dozens were injured in the clashes at Turka Wangam and Sugan villages and were shifted to Srinagar hospital, which received two youngsters with pellet injuries in their eyes.
Security forces also laid a cordon in Khudwani of Kulgam district after a tip-off about the presence of LeT terrorists, but they escaped with public support, a cop said.
The security officials also asked all villagers to assemble in a common area so their homes could be searched.
Separately, 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.
(With PTI inputs)