Ahead of RD, Sopore turned into a fortress

Ahead of RD, Sopore turned into a fortress
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Sopore: Deployment of government forces including army in several areas of northern Kashmir, and frequent frisking of commuters in run up to R-Day have turned the area into a virtual garrison.
The deployment is most around Sopore, which is traditionally seen as a turbulent hotspot.
Concertina wires have also been laid to restrict the movement of the people in some key localities.
At many places in Sopore, Baramulla and adjoining villages, government forces were seen stopping and frisking vehicles and asking for identity cards of commuters. At many places army can be seen jointly manning the checkpoints with police.
The sudden spurt in frisking has caused inconvenience to commuters, many of whom complained of “unnecessary harassment”.
A senior police official from Sopore said there are around 13 local active militants in Sopore, “so we cannot take the security of the area lightly”.
“All arrangements are in place to ensure smooth and hassle free R-day function in Sopore and elsewhere in north Kashmir,” he said.
The Sopore town is already home to number of army and paramilitary camps.
“This camp is very old, first there used to be BSF but some years back, when BSF left, CRPF came to settle in the camp. It is the same camp which killed two youth in 2008, when a huge procession of fruit growers and people led by Hurriyat leaders Shabir Ahmad Shah and Sheikh Abdul Aziz tried to march towards Muzzafarabad,” Farooq Ahmad, an aged shopkeeper near a CRPF camp told Kashmir Reader.
As one cross Sopore bypass, there is another CRPF camp at Amargarh near Tarzoo police station.
“It used to be a home of a Sikh family, they were rich but as the situation worsened in Kashmir, they left their home and BSF occupied it, now CRPF is there from last many years,” a local resident said.
Few meters from the CRPF camp, one can spot an army camp.
“They came few years back to this place, as if CRPF camp was not enough. It is a completely residential colony, but with their presence from last few years, evening movement of locals has dwindled,” a resident said.
After crossing Chankhan Bridge near Government Degree College, one of the largest army garrisons in North Kashmir is present at what is known as Ganjoo House- an abandoned property of a Kashmiri Pandit bureaucrat, Showk Ganjoo, who left the place in 90s. A camp of Army’s 22RR is housed in the property.
Near to Ganjoo house is the town hall of Sopore, which houses SSP office and SOG camp, besides the headquarters of 179 battalion of CRPF.
In the Sopore main chowk, which has been a witness to some of the bloodiest massacres, including one on January 6, 1993 (in which more than 55 people were massacred on a cold winter morning), is a CRPF camp, which locals say, is a big deterrent to movement of residents in late hours.
The spot has also become a point of clashes between youth and forces, especially on Fridays.
Another camp of CRPF along with SOG is located near the bus stand of Sopore. The camp occupies a major portion of Plaza hotel, and BDO office as well.