Srinagar: Helicopters and drones circled the air and more than 4,000 troops Thursday fanned out across south Kashmir’s Shopian district in a massive operation to flush out militants holed up inside homes.
The operation targeting militants who have been hiding in the area and striking against government forces began in the early hours of the morning with forces, comprising army, police and CRPF, marching into more than a dozen villages in the district, army sources said.
There have been no casualties so far.
The operation in Shopian, about 55 km from Srinagar, was perhaps the biggest in more than a decade in the troubled Kashmir Valley, an army official said on the condition of anonymity.
Door-to-door search of houses, a practice stopped in the late 1990s, was re-introduced today. The troops asked all villagers to assemble in a common area so a proper search of their homes could be carried out,
“We do not wish to have any civilian casualty and the measure was therefore required,” said a senior army official engaged in the operation.
The cordon and search operation (CASO) followed intelligence inputs about the presence of militants, in the area, an official said. However, no contact had been established with the militants so far. (Agencies)