Massive clashes during CASOs in Shopian, Kulgam; dozens injured, 5 in eyes by pellets

Massive clashes during CASOs in Shopian, Kulgam; dozens injured, 5 in eyes by pellets
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Women among injured; residents of DK Pora allege government forces vandalised property, thrashed people

SHOPIAN: The simmering rage in south Kashmir against the continuous bloodshed of recent days erupted on Saturday in violent clashes with government forces after they arrived to conduct yet another counter-insurgency operation in DK Pora area in Shopian district and at Redwini in Qaimoh area of Kulgam district. A total of 44 civilians were reported by hospital authorities in the region to have been injured in clashes at the two places, most of them with pellets. Five civilians injured in their eyes by pellets were referred to Srinagar hospitals for specialised treatment.
A cordon and search operation (CASO) was launched at Dreed-Kalipora (DK Pora) village in Imam Sahib area by a joint team of army’s 34 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and Jammu Kashmir Police. It ended six hours later at 5pm after no contact with militants was established.
An army officer said that the operation was launched in village at about 11am on “inputs about the presence of some militants in the village.”
Villagers from DK Pora told Kashmir Reader that hundreds of men in uniform carried out intensive searches of several residential houses, but could find no trace of any militant.
Witnesses told Kashmir Reader that soon after the operation was launched, local youths began pelting the government troops with stones. The troops retaliated by firing pellets, tear smoke shells, and stun grenades.
Doctors in hospitals of Shopian told Kashmir Reader that 33 persons sustained injuries in the clashes, 28 of them by pellets, at DK Pora.
“30 persons, including ladies, were brought to this PHC (Primary Health Centre),” a doctor posted at PHC DK Pora said. “Among them, 25 had pellet injuries and five had been injured after tear smoke shells hit them. 27 of the injured were discharged after treatment, while three persons with pellet injuries in their eyes were referred to SMHS Srinagar for advanced treatment.”
Doctors at District Hospital Shopian told Kashmir Reader that three persons with pellet injuries were brought to the hospital, among them two with pellet injuries in eyes. Both of them were referred to SMHS Srinagar.
Residents of DK Pora alleged that government forces vandalised their property, including parked vehicles, during the cordon and search operation.
“They (forces) broke the window panes and windows of our houses, damaged our vehicles, and ruthlessly beat civilians,” a resident said.
Villagers also accused the forces of firing bullets at protesters. “Several bullets were fired in the village by the forces but fortunately none of them hit any civilian,” another villager said.
Another CASO was launched by government forces at about 10am at Redwini village in Kulgam district. Here, too, violent clashes broke out in which several civilians were injured by pellets. A doctor posted at PHC Qaimoh said that 11 injured persons were brought to the hospital during the day, and one of them was referred to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar for further treatment.
Witnesses said that intensive searches were carried out by the joint team of army and other government forces in the village. The searches were reportedly still going on when this report was filed.