Mortar guns returned to Srinagar’s business centre — Lalchowk — on Saturday after over a decade as police and paramilitary forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation. Sources said that the operation was a preemptive move to showcase domination and preparedness of the forces amid some inputs that militants may try a fidayeen (suicide) attack in Srinagar.
Heavily-armed personnel of Jammu and Kashmir police’s Special Operations Group and CRPF cordoned some parts of Lalchowk for a door-to-door search. They checked vehicles and frisked passengers. The operation ended without any incident or arrests. Policemen were armed with assault rifles, while paramilitary forces carried 84mm mortar guns that the Army normally uses along with other weapons.
A police officer told The Indian Express that the aim was to showcase the police and paramilitary forces are ready to meet any challenge. “There are some inputs that militants might try to carryout a fidayeen attack in Srinagar,” the officer said. “That is the background of this operation. It was to show the dominance of forces on the ground and also to highlight the preparedness of forces in case of a fidayeen attack”.
There has been no fidayeen attacked in Lal Chowk for over a decade now. The fidayeen would target the city centre as it would gain much media attention. Sources said that a sudden spurt in infiltration attempts has fueled apprehension of a “spectacular” attack and that there is “no better place than Srinagar” for gaining media attention. “Most of these militants are foreigners and they would not sit idle without doing anything,” a police officer said. “That is why we are keeping our forces prepared.”