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Deaf to army chief’s warning, locals pelt stones at security forces in Kashmir

A trend has emerged lately in Kashmir valley where local youths flock encounter sites during raging gun fights to help militants flee.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2017 06:56 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Stone pelters in Kashmir

Police chasing away stone pelters during a clash at Batmaloo in central Srinagar.(PTI File Photo)

Locals, ignoring a recent warning by the army chief, pelted stones at security forces when the latter cordoned off a village looking for militants in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday.

The incident comes barely a couple of days after army chief General Bipin Rawat had warned of harsh measures if youths hampered counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir Valley.

A trend has emerged lately in Kashmir valley where local youths flock encounter sites during raging gun fights to help militants flee.

The army chief’s statement triggered outrage in the Valley with opposition parties as well as separatists claiming such remark would escalate tension in the state.

Read| Army chief’s warning will increase hostility in Kashmir: Separatists

A team of army and police surrounded the village in Urivan-Newa area of Pulwama after getting information about the presence of militants there in the afternoon.

Soon local people started throwing stones intermittently at the security forces from the rooftop of their houses, sources at the Pulwama police control room said.

“They were pelting stones occasionally at the security forces when they were doing their job. The searches, however, went off peacefully,” a policeman manning the PCR said.

Army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said stones were hurled at the security forces by a mob when they were returning after conducting the search, which was initiated based on some intelligence inputs.

The mob was dispersed by the police, he said.

A local news agency in Srinagar, however, reported that the security forces had to withdraw the operation after facing “stiff resistance” from locals. Police and army officials refuted the report.

Read| Parrikar backs army chief’s comment on Kashmiris, says military has ‘full freedom’