SRINAGAR: A day after Hizbul Mujahideen deputy chief Sabzar Ahmad along with some of his associates escaped from an encounter site in Tral area of South Kashmir, CRPF has admitted that stone pelting is hampering anti-militancy operations in the Valley and many militants have escaped from the encounter sites during the clashes.
“The stone pelting is hampering our anti-militancy operations,” IG CRPF (Operations) Zulfikar Hassan told New Indian Express.
At least six CRPF men, including an officer, were injured on Saturday evening in Hayena area of Tral in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district when locals pelted stones on police, paramilitary and army men, who were laying siege around the village to conduct operation to flush out a group of militants hiding there.
An Insas rifle of a CRPF officer was snatched by the mob after injuring him. The officer, who suffered head injuries, is undergoing treatment at an Army hospital in Srinagar.
During the clashes between locals and security men, the Hizb deputy chief Sabzar Ahmad along with some of his associates managed to escape from the area, police sources said.
Sabzar was a close aide of Kashmir militancy’s poster boy and HM commander Burhan Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8 last year.
IG CRPF said there have been many instances when militants managed to escape from encounter sites due to stone pelting resorted to by locals.
On Monday, security forces faced protests at Pinjoora area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, where they had gone to conduct search operations after receiving inputs about presence of the militants. Later, the operation was called off after no militant was found.
On March 4, security men had to call of anti-militancy operation in South Kashmir’s Shopian district after militants holed up in a house managed to escape following intense protests and stone pelting from locals.
Asked what measures have been taken to prevent protests and stone pelting at encounter sites, IG CRPF said, “The local administration is taking steps to prevent people from staging protests and pelting stones on security men during anti-militancy operations in the Valley.”
He said Section 144 is imposed in encounter sites and restrictions are enforced to prevent people from taking to roads and pelting stones on security men.
However, despite these measures intense stone pelting takes place at some places during the encounters, Hassan said.
According to him, most of the stone pelting incidents during anti-militancy operations have taken place in South Kashmir.
“We have taken additional measures to prevent people from staging protests and pelting stones on the security personnel during anti-militancy operations,” he said without divulging further information.
Meanwhile, thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of local HM militant Aquib Molvi at Tral in South Kashmir on Monday.
Aquib along with a Pakistani militant was killed in an encounter with security forces in Hayena village of Tral on Sunday. A policeman was also killed and three security men including Army Major injured in the gunfight.
According to locals, about 30,000 people attended at least four funeral prayers of Aquib, who was a close associate of slain HM commander Burhan Wani.
Aquib was a deeply religious boy and had joined Hizb in 2012, police sources said.