J&K Unrest: First in a decade, door-to-door search in Baramulla for 12 hours

Police say attacks on Army behind hunt; over 700 houses searched in Old City area

Written by Mir Ehsan | Baramulla | Updated: October 20, 2016 8:36 am
baramulla, baramulla search, baramullah house search, army, indian army, kashmir, indian army attacks, jammu kashmir, kashmir news, india news An SUV was set on fire in Srinagar as the shutdown in the Valley called by the separatists entered its 103rd day Wednesday. Unidentified masked men also set on fire a passenger vehicle in Baramulla. (PTI Photo)

In a first-of-its-kind search operation in more than a decade in the Valley, the Army, CRPF, BSF and police held a door-to-door hunt through the tightly packed Old City area of Baramulla on Tuesday, beginning before sunrise at 5 am and stopping only after 12 hours.

Early morning risers found the security cordon, including bullet-proof Casper vehicles, already in place when they stepped out to offer morning prayers. They were told to go back inside. Later, announcements were made from loudspeakers announcing the search and the crackdown. The security forces split up into small teams, each including Army, police and paramilitary men.

Watch Video: What’s making news

Baramulla SSP Imtiyaz Hussain Mir said that after two attacks on the Army in the town, the operation was inevitable. While the first, on August 17, at Khawaja Bagh had left two Armymen and a police driver dead, on October 3, militants had tried to sneak into the battalion headquaters of 49 Rashtriya Rifles at Stadium Colony, killing a BSF jawan and leaving a soldier injured.

Security agencies also wanted to send a message after Chinese flags were waved by protesters here last Friday.

“The security forces sanitised the area, searching over 700 houses,” the SSP said. “A large number of suspected hideouts were busted.”

The police as well as Army said they had seized a “large quantity of incriminating material” during the search, including petrol bombs, Chinese and Pakistani flags, “operation letter pads of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba”, unauthorised mobile phones and “seditious anti-national publicity material”.

Mir said they had detained 44 people for questioning, including two foreign militants. “Some of the arrested people were released after initial investigation. Most of the suspects have been rounded up for terrorism-related crimes and providing logistical support to Pakistani terrorists of the Jaish-e- Mohammad.”

The Old City, with the Jhelum river running through it, is connected to the main town through five bridges. On the other side lies Civil Lines, housing government offices and major Army installations, including the office and residence of General Officer Commanding, 19 Infantry Division, that looks after the Line of Control from Gulmarg to Nowgam.

Known to be a separatist bastion, the Old City has been seeing constant protests since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Every Friday, it sees big processions, ending with police using teargas shells to disperse the crowds. While there have not been any civilian deaths in Baramulla in the past three months of protests, over a hundred have received pellet injuries. However, a spree of arrests in recent weeks had seen a scaling down of the protests.

Before the current round of protests, for eight years, Baramulla had not witnessed any major militant strike or attack. Officials admitted they had no inputs about militant presence, though several people from here have been detained since early this year over alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad links.

“For us, the raid was a reminder of the old days of militancy, when the Army used to conduct crackdowns in our localities and search our homes for militants,” said Rafiq Ahmad, a resident of Tawheed Gunj. “They came into our house in the afternoon and searched every room. We were asked to open even trunks and boxes. They climbed up to the attic.”

Ahmad said his family was told they were looking for “wanted stone-pelters”.

“In the past there have been small night raids to arrest wanted youths, but this time it was extensive and the whole town saw the crackdown,” said Abid Ahmad War, who lives in Faqerwani. Apart from stone-pelters, the forces were looking for youths declared proclaimed offenders who were involved in organising street protests, he said.

“The crackdown was launched to arrest leaders who have been in the forefront of protests. All the top leaders and prominent stone-pelters evaded arrest as they fled before the operation, but police arrested dozens of youth who were involved in some protests,’’ Suhail Ahmad, a resident of Gania Haman, said.

Bilal Ahmad Khan, whose house in Jamia locality was searched, said police and the Army were spreading the impression that militants are hiding in the town. “Ours is a peaceful town. Protests are happening everywhere in Kashmir and our area is not an exception.”

Following the operation, the Lashkar-e-Toiba issued a threat to Station House Officer, Baramulla, Khalid Ahmad.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

First Published on: October 20, 2016 3:11 am
  1. I
    Ikok
    Oct 20, 2016 at 3:28 am
    Soon boys under 10 and women above 50 will be left in homes rest all will captured and put under arrest
    Reply
    1. S
      Satendra kumar
      Oct 20, 2016 at 2:52 am
      Doort to door search by the Indian Army is very important for the valley as this region the terrorist still cross line of control and come into Indian territory.This unwelcome visitor should be carefully detected appended or shot for doing terrorist job.
      Reply
      1. R
        Romik
        Oct 20, 2016 at 1:19 am
        One has to pick out lice with an effective comb.
        Reply
        1. R
          Rajesh
          Oct 20, 2016 at 3:53 am
          Good Step, But no harm should be done to public especially ladies and children.
          Reply
          1. A
            Archit A
            Oct 20, 2016 at 4:24 am
            The root cause of all the trouble, misery and violence that Kahmiri Muslims face is their support to Islamic terrorists and separatists. Till they time they continue to display such anti-Indian and ant-Hindu behavior, they must suffer. The only solution to lead a peaceful, secure, prosperous and happy life is to firmly stop being Pro-stan, pro-China, stop supporting Islamic terrorists and separatists, declare themselves as loyal Indians, and remove Article 370 and other symbols like their own flag, consution and penal code. This is the only way out.Till then, Kashmiri Muslims will not know peace.
            Reply
            1. A
              abd
              Oct 20, 2016 at 2:00 am
              Useless.Will give rise to anti indian sentiments.
              Reply
              1. A
                abd
                Oct 20, 2016 at 2:52 am
                Why dont you gey lost?
                Reply
                1. B
                  Bakumbai
                  Oct 20, 2016 at 3:21 pm
                  Such operations should have been carried out much earlier without any fear for the anti-nationals. All those people are stan supporters and should be behind bars immediately.
                  Reply
                  1. D
                    dhiraj
                    Oct 20, 2016 at 4:23 am
                    Is it? I think then it would be great !!! They will live in peace and posperity...
                    Reply
                    1. D
                      Dhiraj
                      Oct 20, 2016 at 11:01 am
                      Because its my country I cannot get lost
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        Dhiraj
                        Oct 20, 2016 at 2:08 am
                        Get lost
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          Sriniwasan
                          Oct 20, 2016 at 5:01 am
                          People of JandK has become a cannon fodder caught between the terrorists directing operations from across the border and the Indian Armed Force. Unless,the state government led by the CM who is a parter with BJP means business and take a tough line of action against seperatists and the terrorists,the Common people of JandK cannot breathe a sigh of life.
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            Sriniwasan
                            Oct 20, 2016 at 5:06 am
                            US is a Country of Knaves.At heart the Americans are cowards and scared of a physical combat.They can only show off equipments,where as the stan Army uses physical force. Unlike the US,if the stan Army instead of wagging the trails growls at the Chinese,the DRAGON will devour it.
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              Sankaran Krishnan
                              Oct 20, 2016 at 7:54 am
                              Good to search door-to-door which will only expose the Militants and whoever stays like that must be killed or give a free hand to shoot at sight and recover all their belongings and display at the International meet or UNSC Meeting or send the video coverage of such operations across the globe especially to selfish China which is nothing but a slap on their face and as well the Country they belong @@@
                              Reply
                              1. L
                                l s
                                Oct 20, 2016 at 12:43 am
                                Peaceful town, my foot. You people are providing food and shelter to terrorists. Security agencies should give such treatment to those involved in stone pelting and supporting terrorists, that they will not even get an idea of doing anything in future.
                                Reply
                                1. L
                                  l s
                                  Oct 20, 2016 at 3:48 am
                                  Why most of you kashmiris do not work ???lt;br/gt;Why kashmiri children ans youth allowed by their parents to go in troubled areas and throw stones at our jawans ???lt;br/gt;Why are you begging the w year for funds ??? Why don't you all use the funds for what it is sanctioned ?????lt;br/gt;Why are you muslim Indians encouraging and supporting stan while eating and living in India ?????lt;br/gt;Why don't you, who don't like India, migrate to stan ????lt;br/gt;What have you kashmiris contributed to India's national cause.lt;br/gt;Live in India like Indians or else just pack-up and get out of India.
                                  Reply
                                  1. I
                                    Indian
                                    Oct 20, 2016 at 7:58 am
                                    Indian and stan have a confused state in between - JandK. The Kashmiris believe India tricked them into being a part of India. They believe that stan is trying to get them a sovereign state like the part of PoK. The elders train their kids in to thinking that stan is their Messiah and Indians their enemies. They consider the mujahids as it translates to a meaning like messengers of God (please correct me if I am wrong). As long as this thinking does not change among the Kashmiris - the actual decedents of Kashmir - Kashmir will remain a threat and a problem to India.
                                    Reply
                                    1. V
                                      Vivek narain
                                      Oct 20, 2016 at 4:33 am
                                      Kashmir ki kali,Sharmila tagore khan must be made jk governor.
                                      Reply
                                      1. P
                                        Pmg Pillai
                                        Oct 20, 2016 at 2:13 am
                                        This is required in the interst og safety and scurity of the ste o one cahave anyonection to tht because it isthe duty of thecuy forcest flus h ut all hii trroost dad friday October 20th 2016 Tme 0740 hrs ist
                                        Reply
                                        1. P
                                          Pradeep Bhattacharya
                                          Oct 20, 2016 at 4:44 am
                                          But it is impossible that no harm is done to public especially ladies and children in such crackdown.
                                          Reply
                                          1. R
                                            Ronak Sheth
                                            Oct 20, 2016 at 5:26 am
                                            stani ikok and Pradeep be careful your IP have been reported to Indian police .. we will get u soon topis
                                            Reply
                                            1. Load More Comments