SHOPIAN: Government forces on Sunday conducted a 12-hour-long search and cordon operation (CASO) in at least five villages situated near a major army establishment at Balpora (headquarters of 12 Sector RR/ Brigade) in Shopian district. However, the government troops could find no militant in the villages.
Villagers informed Kashmir Reader that at 4am in the pre-dawn hours, contingents of government forces including army, paramilitary central reserve police force (CRPF), and Jammu and Kashmir Police besieged the village. With the first ray of dawn, the troops started door-to-door searches in more than 1,100 houses in five villages.
Witnesses said that searches were carried out at Sandoo-Shirmal, Ganowpora, Wathoo, Brethipora and Balpora villages. “They twice conducted intensive door-to-door searches in almost every residential house of the village,” said a resident of Brethipora village, adding that villagers were not allowed to come out of their houses for 12 hours, until the cordon was lifted.
Locals from Shirmal village told Kashmir Reader that three to four troops were deployed around every house during the operation.
Villagers said that the deployment was withdrawn at about 4pm after no militant was found.
Police sources said that on “intelligence inputs” of the presence of militants, searches were carried out in these Shopian villages.
A police officer confirmed that a CASO was conducted in these villages and that no contact with militants was established.
Since the personal security officer of Shopian’s Wachi MLA decamped with seven service rifles of policemen and the MLA’s licenced pistol from his official residence in Srinagar, searches have been intensified in Shopian villages. About a dozen persons have been detained for questioning regarding the case. Police sources told Kashmir Reader that five persons including the deserter PSO have joined militant ranks in the district after Hizbul Mujahideen displayed all the looted weapons on social media.