March 2017 News

Shopian Operation Called Off After Militants Flee

4 March 2017
Greater Kashmir
Showkat Dar

Srinagar: Fierce clashes broke out in Heff and Sugan villages of South Kashmir's Shopian district on Saturday after the 14-hour-long siege was lifted in the area where unknown number of militants, believed to be trapped in residential houses since last night, gave slip to forces, reports and witnesses said. At least 10 persons were injured during the clashes and one of them sustained a bullet injury in his hand after forces resorted to firing while another sustained a pellet injury in the eye, they said. Reports said during the clashes, a vehicle of Central Reserve Police Force turned turtle, causing minor injury to five personnel. The forces later allegedly damaged dozens of houses and vehicles in the village. Witnesses and reports said based on a specific input about presence of militants in Chilipora Sugan village of Shopian district, forces rushed to the spot and cordoned it off last night. 'As the forces started searches in the village at about 9 pm, some militants present nearby lobbed a grenade and fired bullets on the forces. This was retaliated to,' they said, adding: 'Soon, the militants entered into a residential area and entered some houses there.' Police said reinforcements of Army, Special Operations Group of J&K Police and CRPF were sent to the spot and the houses where the militants were suspected to be holed up, were completely sealed. 'Later, the forces launched house-to-house searches,' a police official said, adding that drone cameras were used to trace the militants throughout the night. Locals said they could not venture out during the night when intermittent firing was heard. 'At about 11 am, the forces called off the operation after no contact was made with the militants,' the official said. While the forces called off the operation, youth from different areas gathered around the village and pelted stones on the forces near Sugan and Heff villages. The forces retaliated, triggering clashes, according to reports. In the meantime, they said, a mobile bunker of CRPF turned turtle near Heff village when the forces were returning after calling off the operation, causing minor injury to five CRPF personnel. Soon, youth pelted stones on the vehicle and forces personnel retaliated, triggering massive clashes, they said. The forces resorted to firing to disperse the youth, witnesses said. At least 10 persons were injured during clashes. 'A youth sustained bullet injury in his hand and another sustained pellet injury in the eye,' they said. 'We received two injured. One of them had sustained a bullet in his hand and the other has a pellet injury in the right eye. We referred both of them to Srinagar for specialized treatment,' ' a Medical Officer at Pulwama district hospital told Greater Kashmir. The clashes ended at about 2 pm after forces removed the vehicle and left. Locals said the forces entered the village, ransacked houses, damaged windows and doors of dozens of houses. 'Some vehicles parked in the village were also damaged,' they alleged. A complete shutdown was observed in the area. When contacted, Deputy Inspector General of Police (South Kashmir), S.P. Pani said: 'We had inputs about presence of militants in the village. A cordon was laid accordingly last evening which ended this morning without any collateral damage.' 'When the (forces') parties were returning, one of the vehicles of CRPF slipped and turned turtle near Heff village causing minor injuries to five personnel,' he said. 'As the personnel were removing the vehicle, stone-pelting incidents happened there and forces personnel retaliated. Three persons have got injured but all of them are stable,' he said. 'Maximum restraint was exercised by the forces to save lives,' the DIG claimed.