Owais Farooqi / Mushtaq Ahmad
Bandipora/ Kupwara: Government forces on Saturday launched three Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs) in north, south and central areas of Bandipora district in search of militants. All three search operations yielded nothing.
The first CASO was launched in volatile Hajin’s Parray Mohalla, in the middle of night. The government forces, according to locals, kept the area under cordon from Friday midnight to 9am Saturday. However, no clashes took place during the cordon and searches. The operation concluded peacefully but without any success.
In Watapora village, which is situated on the outskirts of Bandipora district headquarter and rarely witnesses such operations, the searches began as early as 4am, according to the villagers.
They said that the government forces first cordoned off the area and then started door-to-door searches in localities of Chana Mohalla, Khospora, and Gulshan Abad. During the searches, the locals alleged, government forces vandalised household items and beat up a few youths.
The locals said that the operation concluded at about 9:30am, but not before resentment at the thrashing of some youths led to heated arguments and exchange of verbal abuses.
In the latter part of the day, a brief search operation was launched in southern Bandipora in Sumbal area’s Gulabwari village near Naidkhai. The search operation was called off after three to four houses were searched, yielding nothing, locals told Kashmir Reader.
In the evening another search operation was launched at Nadihal Village in the outskirts of District headquarters. Sources said that operation was launched at Sofi Mohalla and Mir Mohalla of Nadihal village, during the operation houses were searched.
In Kupwara district, a gunfight broke out near the Line of Control (LoC) in Tanghdar sector on Saturday morning, officials said. They said that army’s 6 Garhwal regiment detected suspicious movement along the LoC near Tony Post in Tanghdar sector. When the army challenged the militants, they opened fire at the army, resulting in an encounter that lasted for an hour.
Soon after the gunfight, officials said, reinforcements were rushed to the area and a CASO was launched. All routes in and out of the area were blocked by the army.
Some local sources said that it was an infiltration bid that had been foiled by the army. They said that the intruders escaped and returned to the Pakistani side of Kashmir. Some sources said that the militants were still hiding in the forests this side of the LoC.
The area is far from any civilian habitation and the army and police are the only sources of information. This reporter could not independently verify the details.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kupwara AS Dinkar confirmed to Kashmir Reader that a gunfight took place in Tanghdar sector. “Yes, a gunfight broke out between militants and army in Tanghdar sector today morning. A search operation is continuing there,” Dinkar said.