Security forces launched a house-to-house search operation on Friday in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, days after 44 people were arrested for their alleged involvement in “terror-related activities” from the area.
The police control room (PCR) in Baramulla said that joint teams of the Indian Army and state police cordoned off Drangbal and Fakirwani areas of Old-Town Baramulla early in the morning.
A police official said that the operation was on as forces were conducting house to house searches but he did not clarify whether they were looking for militants or stone-pelters.
On Monday 17, an extensive search operation, locally called ‘crackdown’ reminiscent of the 1990s when militancy erupted in the valley, was conducted in the town.
The joint teams of the army, police, Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) conducted “deliberate search operations in ten sensitive localities” which the army said were “reportedly being used as safe havens by the terrorists”.
“The security forces sanitised the area searching over 700 houses in a span of 12 hours on 17 Oct 2016,” an army spokesperson said adding that 44 people were apprehended.
The army said it recovered “petrol bombs, Chinese & Pakistan flags, LeT & JeM letter-head pads, unauthorized mobile phones and seditious anti-national publicity material” during the raids.
Such crackdowns were routinely carried during the peak of militancy in the state. Civilians, mostly men, with their hands raised on their heads were asked to come out of their houses while security forces conducted door to door searches.
The state police have launched a massive crackdown on youth across the valley to contain the unrest that crossed 105 days on Friday.
According to figures based on daily press releases issued by the police in Srinagar, 1,700 people were arrested between September 16 and October 19 “to curb the activities of trouble mongers involved in various crimes of disrupting the public order”.
News reports, however, peg the number of those arrested and detained between 5,000 and 9,000 after pro-freedom protests erupted across the valley.
Human rights organisations say over 450 among the arrested have been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and sent to jails without trials. PSA authorises officials to send a person to jail for 6–24 months without a court hearing.
Meanwhile, a body of a man was found in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
While some reports said that the body was riddled with bullets, police have not provided any details yet. The PCR in Kulgam said that the man was a resident of nearby Anantnag district.