Searches Spark Anger in Pulwama, Kulgam

Echo of the 90’s 

SRINAGAR:   Following a surge in militancy in South Kashmir, the Govt. forces have stepped up roadside frisking of commuters and crackdowns-reminiscent of the early nineties when militancy was at its peak in the Kashmir valley.

According to CNS, it has become routine for the Army personnel to cordon and launch search operations in one or the other hamlets of South Kashmir’s Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian district on daily basis.  

Government Forces have set up barricades at many places while frisking and nocturnal raids in South Kashmir have become  routine. Police claim that stern measures are being put in place to “prevent militants from striking at their will.” Since the past two weeks army has cordoned and launched search operations in scores of hamlets including Karimabad, Samboora, Ganaie Mohalla, Koil, Lelhar, Padgampora, Kakapora, Awantipora, Lajoora and other areas. “What was prevalent during nineties is prevalent now. We face a lot of humiliation. We are being frisked and our identity cards are checked thoroughly. People basking outside or killing time along the road side are being called and questioned,” a group of people from Samboora area of Pampore town said.

“If you are a guest, an outsider visiting your friends or relatives in any part of South Kashmir, Pulwama or Shopian village, you are not safe. Within no time of your arrival ,the Army will cordon the village and will question you. This is horrible and troublesome,” said an elderly person.

Reports said that there is heavy army presence in the South Kashmir. Army personnel could be seen patrolling on roads, paddy fields, orchards and other routes. “Army presence has diminished in Srinagar city only.  Elsewhere,  they are visible everywhere , creating a fear psychosis among people,” said a shopkeeper.

From past one month Army cordoned off and conducted search operations  at least eight times alone in Dar Mohalla Samboora.

“Somebody misled army and provided wrong information about the presence of militants in the area on Sunday. Four guests had arrived here to attend the marriage function of their friend. Army cordoned off the  entire area and questioned them. Even after their departure, the Army ‘unnecessarily’ harassed’ people,” said a resident of Dar Mohalla.

Reports said as  the Army began  leaving the area after the culmination of search operation, people attacked them with stones, causing damage to their vehicles. The clashes between  youth and the search party continued for a long time, creating panic in the area. “Search operations, raids and cordon are a routine here,” the people said.

When contacted, an Army official from Chinar Corps said that they regretted if inconvenience was caused to common people during any search operation. “Our basic motive is to flush out militants and maintain peace. We work in the interest of people,” he said. (CNS)

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