Lolab disrupts forces operation against militants, pelt stones

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Srinagar: Taking cue from south Kashmir, hundreds of people today evening – apparently for the first time – from their houses in Lolab area of border district of Kupwara and resorted to stone-pelting after an encounter raged between militants and government forces, prompting authorities to call of the operation.

According to GNS, army’s 28 RR, police and CRPF cordoned off Pir Mohalla area of Kantpora in Lolab following a tip off about presence of militants. As the joint team of forces intensified the combing operations, the militants believed to be hiding in the Pir Mohalla near the Jamia Masjid tried to break the cordon, a police official said.

“However, the forces engaged them in a gunfight which continued for nearly an hour,” he said. However, in an unusual development, hundreds of residents of Kantpora and its adjoining localities came out of their houses and staged pro-freedom protests. The protesters started to march towards encounter spot and resorted to stone-pelting on forces involved in counter-insurgency operation in order to give safe passage to the hiding militants.

According to sources, police and CRPF retaliated by firing dozens of teargas shells towards the protesters. Due to clashes, the operation against got disrupted and later the forces called off the operation. The clashes between the two sides continued till late hours.

Sources said it is for the first time that the people in Lolab have come out from their houses during an encounter to pelt stones on forces. “This is apparently the outcome of developments in south Kashmir where people every now and then are disrupting counter-insurgency operations by pelting stones and marching towards encounter spots,” they said.

A police official said the additional contingents of forces have been deployed in the area but the operation as of now has been called off. (GNS)

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