SRINAGAR: Intense clashes erupted between government forces and villagers during a cordon and search operation in Padgampora village of Awantipora. Forces called off the operation after three hours, villagers said. Police said that the operation was called off after searches were over.
Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and Special Operations Group (SOG) laid seize around Padgampora village at around 4 pm on Sunday. Police sources said that they had specific inputs about the presence of militants in the area.
Witnesses said that as soon as the contingents of forces reached the village and started laying cordon, villagers, mostly youth, came out of their homes and threw rocks at the forces, disrupting the operation. Forces, the witnesses said, initially exercised restraint, but resorted to intense teargas shelling and aerial firing after youth from nearby villages rushed to join the clashes to disrupt the operation.
“Despite intense tear smoke shelling by the forces, youth refused to relent and continued attacking the forces with rocks,” said an eye witness. The clashes continued for three hours before the forces decided to call off the operation. “Stiff resistance offered by the youth made the forces to call off operation at around 7 pm”.
None of the top police officials responded to repeated calls from Kashmir Reader. However a police official wishing anonymity said, “We had information about the presence of militants in the village but nothing was found during searches. It was not that the operation was called off due to stone throwing by the youth,” the police official said.