Pulwama: Even though Police in Kashmir Valley last month issued an advisory for people during encounters requesting them particularly parents not to allow their wards to move towards the encounter site, large number of people continue to defy this advisory in South Kashmirs Pulwama district. From past one week the government forces came under heavy stone-pelting attacks from youth during the different cordon and search operations in the district.
A few days ago government forces led by 53 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) called off their operation in Gossu hamlet of the district when people pelted stones on them. Government Forces had even laid concertina wire around the village to flush out militants but the people came out in large number to foil their operation, eyewitnesses told CNS.
On the next day of this incident the cordon and search operation launched by government forces led by 55 RR in Karimabad village was also foiled by people. Government forces cordoned off Karimabad village after they received inputs about the presence of militants in the hamlet. As they launched search operation, large number of people particularly youth hit to roads and resorted to stone-pelting. The continuous stone-pelting continued for hours resulting in the culmination of the operation.
On Tuesday evening, militants managed to flee from the same village when government forces tried to cordon off it. Locals informed CNS that panic gripped in the hamlet when militants reportedly fired volley of bullets in air before escaping from the village. On the same day, government forces including 44 RR, CRPF 182 Battalion and Special Operation Group laid a siege around Drubgam village after they reportedly received inputs that cop turned militant Naseer Ahmed Pandit has been present in the village. Reports said that an accidental fire from an Army man made people believe that an encounter has started in the village. People especially youth came out in large numbers and clashed with the government forces. In a bid to disperse the stone-throwers, government forces used tear-smoke shells, however, clashes continued for hours. Government Forces were unable to conduct search operations during night hours due to clashes. They lifted the cordon next morning, local said.
At least one Army man was injured on Wednesday after people attacked army vehicles with stones at Newa Pulwama. Witnesses said that army patrolling vehicles from 53 RR appeared in Newa market where people in large numbers had gathered to participate in the Urs of a saint Syed Fakhuruddin (RA). Some youth pelted stones on the Army vehicles resulting in the injuries of an Army man. The stone-pelting incident created panic among the devotees. As more and more started attacking Army vehicles, they in retaliation fired some shots in air. The clashes continued for hours.
Yes, some people resort to violence during operation but we exercise restraint to avoid any damage. It is a serious issue and needs to be tackled in an efficient manner, a top police official told CNS.
Badamibagh based Army spokesperson Colonel NN Joshi said that Army have already issued a warning statement and made it clear that action will be taken against those who hamper the operation. Our motive is to avoid collateral damage and it is this policy that has been stopping action against the stone-throwers, he said.
Another Army official said that operation is being called off only when they are certain that no militant is present in the area. We dont call off operations when there are militants in the area, he said. (CNS)
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