2 militants gunned down in Bandipora, civilian killed in Kulgam as J-K truce ends
A Kashmiri man was killed and another was injured in violent protests in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Monday evening, even as security forces gunned down two militants and resumed cordon-and-search-operations (Caso) across the Valley a day after the Centre called off a month-long unilateral suspension of operations in the face of rising violence.
Earlier in the day, the army launched Caso in Anantnag district’s Waghema and Pulwama district’s Samboora village, where clashes erupted between civilians and security forces. The army said it ring-fenced Waghema after receiving intelligence about the possible presence of militants in the morning, the first Caso in the Valley after the so-called Ramzan ‘ceasefire’ was discontinued. Army personnel and officers from the Jammu and Kashmir Police carried out house-to-house searches.
Defence ministry spokesman Rajesh Kalia said the army killed two militants in the Panar forests of Bandipora district in an operation that started last week, with four militants and one soldier killed since then. The identity of the slain militants was not immediately known.
Elsewhere in the Valley, locals reported security personnel patrolling in large numbers, with bulletproof and mine-proof vehicles used to set up barricades and checks in most of the important towns, including Srinagar. Police and other security agencies also carried out random checks of vehicles entering Srinagar.
Dineshwar Sharma, the Centre’s special representative to Kashmir, arrived in Srinagar on Monday and met Bukhari’s family. During his stay, Sharma is likely to meet other delegations or individuals.
Security officials said they were tightening security ahead of the 60-day Amarnath Yatra that starts on June 28 and receives an average of 200,000 pilgrims annually. Forces have been put on high alert with more than 213 companies, which comprises between 80 and 150 soldiers of paramilitary forces deputed to guard the pilgrims in addition to state police and army personnel, said CRPF inspector general Ravideep Sahi.
The army has been put in charge of the outer layer of security the forces began the process of sanitizing the yatra route, which winds through rugged mountains and thick forests from Baltal and Pahalgam. Officials said a three-tier security cordon will be in place.
“Additional forces are being given orientation training. Their deployment is going on and checkpoints are being laid. Though there is a general threat to the yatra, there is nothing specific,’’ Sahi said but added that the “threat perception” was comparatively higher this year.