February 19, 2017 5:13:24 am
THREE days after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat warned that protesters who obstruct anti-militancy operations in Kashmir Valley will be treated as “overground workers of terrorists”, protesters on Saturday reportedly forced the forces to call off an anti-militancy operation in south Kashmir. The Army and police denied that the operation was called off, saying that stone throwing began when they were leaving the area.
On Saturday afternoon, the Army and the state police’s Special Operations Group cordoned off Wurwan area of Newa village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district following inputs about the presence of militants. Soon after the area was cordoned off and search operations began, tens of villagers took to streets and threw stones at police and Army personnel. As stone-throwing intensified, the operation was called off and the blockade lifted, witnesses said.
“Based on information, a joint operation was launched. Search was carried out and the operation was called off,” Defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said in a statement. “However, while security force personnel were returning, a mob resorted to stone pelting, which was dispersed by the police.”
“The operation was not called off,” DIG of Police (South Kashmir) S P Pani said. “We completed the search operation. It is not necessary that every cordon will lead to an encounter.” Saturday’s stone-throwing protests during an anti-militancy operations is the first since the warning issued by Gen Rawat on Wednesday. Security agencies say the rising number of protesters at encounter sites is coming in the way of anti-terror operations.
Best of Express Premium
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.