Operation Called Off In J&K’s Shopian As Militants Flee

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Srinagar: The security forces have called off the night-long operation launched on Friday evening in a remote village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, as militants who were holed up in a house escaped.

The security forces, who entered the house around 9 AM on Saturday, did not find any militants. “There was no response to the security forces’ firing on Saturday morning and when the Army’s paratroopers entered the premises it was empty,” said a police official.

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The search continued for an hour, following which the operation was called off. “Apparently, the militants escaped during the night time,” said a police official on the condition of anonymity.

The police sources here said that the security forces including Army, the J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) and the CRPF had launched a cordon-and-search operation in Shopian’s Chillipora Heff village on Friday evening after receiving information about the presence of a group of militants. Two to three militants were reported to have been holed up in a residential house which was encircled by the security forces.

The locals said that the militants hurled a grenade towards the security forces and also opened fire as the latter approached their hideout, triggering the encounter.

The two sides exchanged gunfire for a couple of hours, but the security forces suspended the operation on Friday night to avoid collateral damage. Also, a parallel operation was launched by the J&K police to evacuate the civilians from the area.

Floodlights were installed around the encounter site to ensure that militants don’t escape the security dragnet. Also, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with cameras were pressed into service to locate the militants.

Reportedly, hundreds of civilians gathered at the encounter site on Saturday morning chanting pro-freedom slogans and hurled stones at the security forces.

 

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