Shopian Cordon Operation Successful, say Police

It is still in progress. If anything comes out, I will share the details: Defence PRO

Srinagar: A joint cordon and search operation launched by army, J&K police and the CRPF ended in Shopian district on Wednesday morning amid intense pro-freedom protests and clashes.

J&K Police spokesperson told the FreePress Kashmir that the operation was “jointly planned yesterday”.

“A joint operation planned by army, police and CRPF ended according to the plan charted out a day before in Heff-Shirmal area of Shopian district.”

“After inputs about presence of militants, the forces launched the search operation but there was some stone pelting which was taken care of and plan (CASO) went smoothly,” he said.

Locals from Heff-Shirmal, two adjacent villages in Shopian district, informed the FreePress Kashmir that the hamlets were cordoned around Fajr Namaz (pre-dawn prayers).

“We were offering our prayers when the area was cordoned and forces launched search the operation,” said, Gh Muhammad (name changed), a farmer and resident of Heff.

Muhammad added, “As soon as the news spread that hundreds of armed forces have cordoned the area, people, most of whom were still in bed, came out on roads and protests erupted.”

A security official, not authorized to speak to media, told the FPK that the operation was launched by “two sectors of army” besides JKP and CRPF.

FPK file picture by Vikar Syed

“62 RR, 9 RR, 44 RR of Indian army which come under the jurisdiction of 12 and 1st sectors of army were involved in the operation besides SOG Shopian which is based in Imam Sahib in the district and 144 CRPF Battalion joined it,” he informed.

Defence spokesperson, who operates from Indian army’s 15 corps based in Srinagar – Chinar Corps – Col Rajesh Kalia, told the FPK, “The search operation was a joint effort and it started early Wednesday morning.”

When asked about the results of the operation in the highly sensitive zone, he replied, “It is still in progress. If anything comes out, I will share the details.”

Muhammad, who is in his late 50s, said, “after protests by the people, the armed forces shot tear gas canisters to stop people from holding demonstrations but youth retaliated by throwing stones and clashes erupted.”

The locals, who insisted not to be named, alleged, “Some people were thrashed by the army and other personnel.”

However, officials from army and police feigned ignorance about such an act.

Sources in the security establishment said that at least five residents of Heff-Shirmal have joined militant ranks in past and are active this time.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Army Chief General Bipin Rawat are scheduled to reach Srinagar today to review the security situation.

Jaitley, who also is the Finance Minister of India, was supposed to land in the valley tomorrow to chair the GST meet.

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