Are Crackdowns Back?

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Srinagar: Cordon-and-search operations are back in Kashmir after 15 years, the state police chief said on Wednesday, as a sharp rise in the number of local youth joining militant ranks forced security forces to change their anti-insurgency strategy in the valley, according to a report in the Hindustan Times.

Though the biggest cordon and search operation in recent times was carried out across two dozen villages in Shopian last week, the official confirmation was made on Wednesday by director general police SP Vaid.

Last week thousands of soldiers combed through villages and orchards, unmanned aerial vehicles and choppers monitored the operation from air.

The decision to make such drills a part-and-parcel of counter insurgency operations came as a huge groundswell of support for militants is observed in Kashmir, especially after the five-month protests took place last year following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, according to NDTV.

CASO was abandoned in 2002 after widespread public resentment over entire villages being cleared out and the people paraded in front of “informers” to pick out militants or their sympathisers.

Vaid said the operations are “part of a larger strategy to flush out of militants in south Kashmir”, identified as the epicentre of anti-India protests and militant activities. He said they will continue.

Search operations will be carried out in militancy-hit areas such as Kulgam, Pulwama, Tral, Shopian and Budgam, the report said.

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