Web Desk — Thousands of Indian government forces cordoned off at least two dozen villages in southern Kashmir on Thursday while they hunted for separatist militants believed to be hiding in the area, but called off the operation after about 10 hours without finding any, police said.
As per AP report, They said rebels later ambushed and shot at an army patrol as it was returning from the operation in the Shopian area. The soldiers retaliated but the attackers fled from the area, police said.
A civilian driver hired by the army was killed in the ambush and at least two soldiers were reportedly injured.
Police said the operation, launched after a spate of rebel attacks and anti-India protests, was the biggest in recent years in the disputed Himalayan territory.
Indian soldiers, paramilitary forces and police searched house-to-house for militants believed hiding in Shopian, known for its vast apple orchards. Helicopters and drones hovered over the villages while ground forces stood guard at village entry points. Schools were closed early.
Villagers expressed surprise as soldiers directed them to assemble in central areas.
“We don’t know what is going on,” said Mohammed Subhan Mir, head of Darazpora village. “There are soldiers all around us, moving everywhere as if it is war.”
Police said some residents resisted the search, and clashes erupted in at least two villages. No injuries were reported.