‘90s-style crackdown in Hajin, but no trace of militants

Hajin (Bandipora): Despite being a hub of the government-sponsored Ikhwan militia, militants have been successful in gaining a foothold in Hajin town of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. The entrenched presence of militants in Hajin is clear from the major search and cordon operation that government forces launched on Wednesday in the town and adjacent areas.
The search operation was launched in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Searches were carried out across Hajin and for the entire day. But they yielded nothing.
Government troops laid siege to more than 20 places, which include Sayed Mohalla, Mir Mohalla, Kochak Mohalla, Gulshanabad, Bangar Mohalla, Bon Mohalla, Dangar Mohalla, Ghat Hajin, Mohalla Wahab, Kana Mohalla, Parra Mohalla and Parray Mohalla.
The search operation was jointly launched by army’s 13 RR and 45 RR, paratroopers, and the special operation group of Jammu Kashmir Police. Locals said that house-to-house searches were carried out in the town to nab militants suspected to be hiding in Hajin.
All entry and exit points of the town were closed during the entire day. People were not allowed to step out of their homes. The markets remained closed and schools were also shut by the authorities in Sumbal area.
The major crackdown has come in the wake of the killing of BSF soldier Ramzan Ahmad Parray. He was on vacation at home when militants came and killed him in Haijin’s Parray Mohalla locality.
Locals described the search operation as similar to the crackdowns that were carried out during the 1990s. Police said that about five militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba are believed to be hiding in the area. Police say that four of the militants are foreigners, and one is a local recruit. The police had blamed this group of five, known as the “Mehboob group”, for the killing of BSF soldier Ramzan Parray.
Police had earlier said that they had neutralised 14 of the 18 militants active in Hajin area. Officials sources said that three persons identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, Khursheed Ahmad Wani and Aijaz Ahmad wani were detained during the siege.
Internet services in Bandipora district were suspended on Tuesday and were restored after 24 hours on Wednesday evening.