Cordon and search operations (CASO) will be re-introduced by the Army as a “permanent feature” of its campaign against militants. The practice was abandoned nearly 15 years ago.
According to Army sources CASO will be carried out in a major way in militancy-hit areas of Kulgam, Pulwama, Tral, Budgam and Shopian in south Kashmir.
“CASO will be a permanent feature as part of counter-terror operations after a gap of 15 years,” sources told PTI.
CASO was abandoned by Army after they faced stiff opposition from local population and after 2001 launched cordon and search operations only on specific intelligence-based inputs. The security establishment started feeling that CASO had made the local people estranged from armed forces due to difficulties that people faced during such operations.
The decision of re-introducing CASO as major feature of counter-terror operations has been taken because of the anger over recent killing of young and unarmed Kashmiri Army officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz in Shopian by militants.
The armed forces had carried out a major operation involving 4,000 troops in south Kashmir last week to flush out militants, indicating a change in strategy.
The Army has also been strongly retaliating against Pakistani firing along the LoC after the beheading of two Indian security personnel.
“The fatality on the Pakistani side in the last three months was eight, while 17 others were injured,” sources said.
(With PTI inputs)