Army on Saturday called off the counter insurgency operation after facing stiff resistance from local populace who in hundreds hit to roads and pelted stones on the forces in Urivan hamlet of Pulwama district.
The incident occurred days after Army chief warned Kashmir protesters against obstructing anti-militancy operations and District Magistrates had issued advisory asking people to stay away from encounter sites.
Police sources told news agency CNS that after receiving inputs about the presence of two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, Army personnel from 55 Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operation Group of Jammu Kashmir Police from Pulwama and Newa cordoned off Urivan village. Sources added that shortly after the siege, when forces started a combing operation, the local population attacked Army and SOG personnel with stones. However, the government forces exercised restraint in a bid to keep locals away from the village, they called reinforcement that extended cordon to adjoining village.
Witnesses said that as the cordon was extended; hundreds of people from dozens of villages including Newa, Namun, Kakapora and Zadoora hit to roads and resorted to massive stone-pelting. Forces retaliated with massive tear-smoke shelling. The clashes lasted for an hour and left many locals injured.
Reports said that in wake of massive stone-pelting and protest, forces called off the operation. Witnesses said that as the forces vehicles retreated, local protesters again attacked them.
The Srinagar based Defence spokesperson could not be contacted as his phone was switched off.(CNS)