People continue to help militants escape

People continue to help militants escape

Notwithstanding Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s tough warning to those who try to disrupt counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir, people continue to help militants escape from cordons by pelting security forces with stones during search operations.

On Saturday, a search party of security forces which had gone for a search and cordon operation in Urivan village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, came under heavy attack by a few hundred people armed with stones.

Sources said the army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police had launched a search operation following inputs about the presence of some militants in the area. However, within minutes, people from at least five villages gathered and fought a pitched battle with the forces, forcing the army and the police to call off the operation.

The latest incident came just three days after General Rawat said that people creating hurdles during anti-militancy operations and displaying flags of Pakistan and IS in Jammu and Kashmir would be dealt with harshly. A day later, the state government also issued an advisory, asking people to stay away from encounter sites.

However, militant sympathisers rushed to help the holed up ultras to escape the security net. “The militants ran away from the area and joined hundreds of people who had assembled there. They mixed with the crowd, to use them as a shield, and managed to escape,” a senior police officer told DH.

“There were children and women among the stone-pelters and the forces had no option but to withdraw in order to avoid collateral damage. It was almost impossible to control the crowd which had gathered and blocked the roads leading to the Urivan village,” he said.

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