Defying Diktat, Protestors Force Army To Call Off Search Operation

PULWAMA: Two days after Indian army chief, Gen Bipin Rawat, warned people of Kashmir Valley against obstructing anti-militancy operations and subsequent advisory by J&K government, Army on Saturday called off their operation after facing stiff resistance from local populace who in hundreds hit roads and pelted stones on forces in Urivan hamlet of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

The incident occurred two days after District Magistrate issued advisory asking people to stay away from encounter sites.

Police sources said that after receiving inputs about the presence two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants, Army personnel from 55 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operation Group of Jammu Kashmir Police from Pulwama and Newa cordoned off Urivan village.

Sources added that shortly after the siege, armed forces when started a combing operation, the local population attacked Army and SOG personnel with stones.

However, the forces “exercised maximum restraint” while in a bid to keep locals away from the village, they called reinforcement that extended cordon to adjoining village.

Witnesses said that as the cordon was extended, hundreds of people from dozens of villages including Newa, Namun, Kakapora and Zadoora hit roads and resorted to massive stone-pelting. Forces retaliated with massive tear-smoke shelling. The clashes that lasted for over an hour left many locals injured.

Reports said that in wake of massive stone-pelting and protest, armed forces called off the operation. Witnesses said that as the security vehicles retreated, local protesters again attacked them.

The Srinagar based Defence spokesperson could not be contacted as his phone was switched off. (CNS)

On ‘Warning’, PDP Min Directs Media To Party/Govt Spokesperson

The new education minister, Syed Altaf Bukhari, on Saturday appealed people to “think positive” about the education sector from now onwards.

Talking to the reporters on the sidelines of a function here, Bukhari said, “distribution of the portfolios is the authority of Chief Minister. All the cabinet ministers are equal as we have collective responsibility of the departments.”

Asked about the ‘transfer policy’ in the education sector, MLA Amira Kadal said, “I don’t know what is happening in the education department so far but I want to convey a message to the people to think positive about education department from now onwards. Leave the negativity aside, think positive about education sector.”

Refusing to speak about the statement made by Army Chief, Bipin Rawat over stone pelting incidents near encounter sites, Bukhari said, “you can talk to the party spokesperson or the government spokesperson regarding the issue as they are best person to answer the query.” (KNS)

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