ANANTNAG: Clashes broke out between the government forces and youths during a search operation in Lelhar village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
The forces, including police and the army, cordoned the village in the afternoon after receiving an input about the presence of militants.
As the forces started searching the locality, scores of youths assembled on the roads and attacked them with stones.
The forces, witnesses said, retaliated by firing tear-smoke, triggering fierce clashes.
Amid clashes, the operation was called off by the forces, as they couldn’t find any militants hiding in the area.
Clashes, witnesses said, also erupted in nearby Kakpora town when the army, after having ended the operation, was returning to its stations.
They said the clashes also triggered a shutdown in Lelhar in the afternoon.
A police official, however, said the clashes erupted only after the search operation was over.
“The clashes erupted but not during the search operation. It was only after the operation concluded that the youths hurled stones at the forces,” the official told Kashmir Reader.
Meanwhile, Pulwama district returned to normal after three days of shutdown over the killing of two militants—Waseem Ahmad Malla and Naseer Ahmad Pandit—in a brief encounter with the government forces in neighbouring Shopian district.