Protests erupt at Kulgam after Army cordon

Army on Tuesday resorted to aerial firing after women protested over the allegedly beating of civilians by force personnel during the crackdown in South Kashmir area of Kulgam.

Army launched a crackdown in the village Okai at Kulgam at 6 am and asked all males to assemble in a local stadium and during the searches thrashed many civilians.  Reacting over this, the women protested against what they termed was the highhandedness of army personnel. Army personnel in response started firing in air to disperse the protesting women, sources said, adding that this ensued chaos in the area and the situation remained tense through the day.

 As the news of alleged thrashing spread in the village, women took to streets and raised hue and cry and the army men deployed there resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesting women, said local reads.

Earlier after unidentified gunmen killed an army officer Army started the “cordon and search operation” which was followed in the 1990s.

The biggest cordon and search operation in recent times was carried out across two dozen villages in Shopian as thousands of policemen combed through villages and orchards while unmanned aerial vehicles and choppers were also deployed for searches. South Kashmir has witnessed a huge support for militants after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani. Locals gather in strength and their presence often helps militants to escape from the search operations.

The funerals of Burhan Wani had drawn large crowds lately, especially in South Kashmir. The five-month protests last year had started after the funeral of Burhan Wani, when the mourners had clashed with security forces.  Earlier thousands had participated in the funeral of Lashkar-e Taiba militant Fayaz Ahmad Aishwar, who was involved in the attack on the Border Security Forces camp in Udhampur in 2015 and carried a reward of Rs. 2 lakh on his head.

Anti-militancy operations had virtually come to a halt during the long unrest last year. As the situation settled, security forces found that an increasing number of local men have joined the ranks of militants.

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