In occupied Kashmir, panic gripped Srinagar’s commercial hub Lal Chowk when the personnel of Indian police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) conducted a sudden search operation in the area.
According to media sources, Nazir Ahmed, a street vendor at clock tower (Ghanta Ghar), told media that all of a sudden teams of police and CRPF appeared in Lal Chowk and started searching buildings. “Some pedestrians started running for safety as a word spread that encounter may start.”
Another witness said, “A Casper vehicle also reached the spot and rumours started making rounds that Army too has joined Police and CRPF and encounter was about to start.”
“The joint teams of forces searched shopping complex at Court Road and also conducted a thorough search operation in Bund area,” the witness added.
Traffic in the area came to a halt for some time. “We even started packing our goods and were about to down our shutters. Normalcy returned after forces called off the operation at around 12: 45 pm,” he added.
The CASO, called crackdown by locals, has been a regular feature of forces in Pulwama and Shopian districts in south Kashmir. The CASO was re-introduced in Kashmir on May 5. Such operations were a routine affair in early ’90s.
The troops also launched Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Pombai village in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.