Srinagar: There was panic in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk on Saturday when police and paramilitary forces launched a cordon and search operation early afternoon near Court Road to nab suspected militants.
Eyewitnesses said that at about 12:15 in the afternoon, CRPF, police’s special operations group (SOG) men cordoned off the entire Court Road area to conduct a search in most of the business establishments situated there.
Government forces also sealed almost all the lanes and bylanes off Court Road and restricted public movement during their search operation.
“Forces cordoned off the area from the Bund side and conducted searches of business establishments there as well,” said an eyewitness.
A shopkeeper at Court Road told Kashmir Reader that the contingents of troops turned up suddenly. “They not only blocked the entry and exit points of the area but also restricted movement of pedestrians during the search operation,” said the shopkeeper, wishing to not be named.
He said that the operation created panic among customers and shopkeepers as the troops conducted searches in restaurants, hotels and shopping complexes.
“We thought something bad is going to happen soon. We feared that a gunfight may start here. It was after a long time that such a large number of troops had cordoned off the busy commercial area,” said the shopkeeper.
They said that they faced tremendous inconveniences during the search operation which they said lasted more an hour time.
Official sources said that the cordon was carried out after the police received inputs of some militants hiding in the area.
Central Kashmir Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ghulam Hassan Bhat told Kashmir Reader that it was a normal operation conducted by CRPF and police together. “There were no inputs of militant presence in the area. It was just a normal search operation,” Bhat said.