Clashes During ‘Crackdown’, Many Hurt

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Shopian: Several people were injured during intense clashes between government forces and protesters in Heff-Shirmal area of Shopian on Wednesday.

Residents alleged that government forces thrashed the family members of militants during cordon and search operation in the village, a report denied by police.

CNS quoting eyewitnesses reported that shortly after government forces laid siege of the Heff-Shirmal village, hundreds of people came out of their homes and amid pro-freedom slogans pelted stones on them to disrupt the operation.

Police and CRPF accompanying the army, according to eyewitnesses, lobbed tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters.

Reports said that as the clashes intensified, police used pellets resulting in the injuries to several protesters.  Residents alleged that, upon finding no militants, forces vandalized the properties and beat up family members of militants during the operation. Sources said that a couple of militants hail from this village.

According to locals, a close relative of a militant was beaten up blue and black who received several stitches in his head. “Several people were wounded in the clashes while one of them received pellets in his eye and was shifted to Srinagar hospital,” CNS report said. Police has denied the reports of thrashing of families of the militants.

The family members of a militant alleged that they were beaten to pulp while troops snatched their cell phones as well. They said that two local youth, Me’raj Ahmad Ganai and Khushal Hamid were also arrested by forces.

Reports said that as the forces left the area and as soon as they reached the nearby Achan village, the protesters pelted stones on them. The forces responded by firing teargas shells, triggering intense clashes.

According to the Deputy Commissioner Shopian Manzoor Qadri, he has not received any complaint in this regard. “Search operation was conducted and forces left the village without touching any civilian. We haven’t received any reports about forces manhandling local population,” he said.

   Efforts to contact Srinagar based Defence spokesperson didn’t materialize. However, a police spokesperson said that in an effort to flush out the militants holed up in the area, security forces conducted extensive searches in the villages of Heff and Shirmal in district Shopian. “During the search operation maximum restraint was shown in dealing with the miscreants, who tried to disrupt the operation at Heff.”

    “The operation began during the intervening night of May 16 and 17 and after successful completion of searches with the cooperation of villagers, the operation concluded as planned on Wednesday morning.”

The DIG South Kashmir S.P Pani has said that nobody suffered any injuries during the search operation.

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