Due to surge in militancy and youth reportedly joining militant ranks in South Kashmir, army and other forces have revived the practice of roadside frisking of commuters and crackdowns, reminiscent of the early 1990s when militancy was at its peak in Kashmir.
Reports said that it has become a routine for the army personnel to cordon and launch search operations in one or the other hamlets of South Kashmir’s Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian district on daily basis.
Forces have set up barricades at many places while frisking and nocturnal raids in South Kashmir have become a routine. Police claim that stern measures are being put in place to “prevent militants from striking at their will.” From past two weeks army have cordoned and launched search operations in scores of hamlets including Karimabad, Samboora, Ganaie Mohalla, Koil, Lelhar, Padgampora, Kakapora, Awantipora, Lajoora and other areas. “What was prevalent during nineties is prevalent now. We face a lot of humiliation. We are being frisked and our identity cards are checked thoroughly. People are being called and questioned,” a group of people from Samboora area of Pampore town told CNS.
“If you are a guest, an outsider visiting some of your friends or relatives in Pulwama or Shopian, you are not safe. Within no time of your arrival the Army will cordon the village and question you. This is horrible and troublesome,” said an elderly person.
Reports said that there is heavy army presence in South Kashmir. Army personnel could be seen patrolling on roads, paddy fields, orchards and other routes. “Army presence has diminished only in Srinagar city, rest they are visible everywhere creating fear among people,” said a shopkeeper.
During past one month army cordoned off and conducted search operations at least eight times in Dar Mohalla Samboora. “Somebody misled army and provided wrong information about the presence of militants in the area on Sunday. Four guests had arrived here to attend the marriage function of their friend. Army cordoned off the area and questioned them,” said a resident of Dar Mohalla. Reports said as army started leaving the area after the culmination of search operation, people attacked them with stones.
When contacted, an official from Army’s Chinar Corps told CNS that they regret if inconvenience is caused to common people during any search operation. “Our basic motive is to flush out militants and maintain peace. We work in the interest of people,” he said.