Government forces on Tuesday fired teargas canisters and metal pellets into protesters who disrupted a cordon-and-search-operation the forces had launched soon after militants appeared and addressed residents at a mosque in Hajin town of Bandipora district.
The residents said that three to four militants stood up in the mosque after Isha prayers on Monday and asked the people on loudspeaker to stay alert as the forces were planning to arrest several youths from the town. The militants also challenged the forces to arrest them, the residents said.
About an hour later, the forces cordoned off the area and started searches, only to face protests by the residents. The protesters pelted the forces with stones.
The residents said the forces vandalised houses and beat up several people during the searches which were on when the report was filed.
On Tuesday, the town observed a strike in protest against what the residents called "highhandedness of government forces". Examinations for middle-level classes were deferred. The residents said electricity and internet were snapped soon after the operation was launched.
Reporters from different media houses of Kashmir were not allowed by the government forces to cover the happenings.
"I came from Sopore to cover the operation but the forces harassed me and threatened to break my camera if I didn't stop filming," said a video journalist who works with a national news channel.
"I travelled 25 kilometres only to return dejected. We were not allowed to do our professional work," he said.
The residents said an unspecified number of youths were apprehended by the police during the operation.
"They label them as over ground workers of militants which is a blatant lie," said a resident who requested anonymity.
The residents said soldiers and policemen entered homes and dragged out people for questioning.
"They beat my son ruthlessly before detaining him," said Ghulam Rasool, a Hajin resident, on phone.