Shopian: A fierce gunfight began Monday evening between militants and government forces in Batmaran-Wanpora village in Shopian district. Police sources told Kashmir Reader that contact with militants was established during a cordon and search operation (CASO) in the area. The militants were hiding in a residential house and they fired upon the government troops, triggering the gunfight, they said.
Heavy exchange of gunfire was going on when this report was filed.
“Exchange of fire going on in Shopian district of south Kashmir between terrorists and Police/Security Forces. Wishing boys the very best!” tweeted DGP SP Vaid.
People in Batmaran-Wanpora village pelted government forces with stones when they began the CASO on Monday. The government forces fired bullets in the air and tear gas shells at the people. A local journalist was hit by a stone while covering the clashes, reports said. The clashes were still going on when last reports came in. Local sources said that government forces had laid siege to a particular area of residential houses in the village.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, South Kashmir, SP Pani told Kashmir Reader in the evening that the searches were being conducted as “there is strong suspicion that militants have been trapped there.”
A joint team of army’s 44RR, paramilitary CRPF and police Special Operations Group (SOG) had cordoned off the area following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants there. Police sources said that as soon as the forces cordoned the village, villagers came out of their homes and started pelting the forces with stones. Local sources said that announcements were made over loudspeakers asking people to come out and resist the CASO.
The forces retaliated with tear smoke canisters, pellets and aerial firing to disperse the protesters, locals said. A resident of Batmaran-Wanpora said that the forces fired more than 100 rounds in the air to break up the protests.
Batmaran-Wanpora is situated some 12 kilometers from district headquarters Shopian.
In another part of Shopian, government forces on Monday launched a CASO in eight villages early in the day. A joint team of army’s 62 RR, CRPF’s 34 battalion, and police SOG cordoned the area after receiving inputs about the presence of militants.
Residents of Rey-Kapran area said that the forces snatched the identity cards of four persons of the village during the CASO.
The villages where the CASO was launched include Chatripora, Vehil, Nowgam, Panduchan, Kapran, Rey Kapran, Dangam, and Wangam. Villagers said that only a few houses were searched by the forces during the search operation.
Senior Superintendent of Police Shopian, SA Dinkar, told Kashmir Reader, “This operation was launched after speculative inputs as in the past when such operations were conducted by a joint team of security forces.”
Since May 4 this year, seven such operations have been conducted in different areas of Shopian district, most of them causing clashes and being called off with no contact with militants.