With officials sounding a security alert across Srinagar in the wake of reports of 'militant movement', intense frisking operations continued for the second consecutive day Wednesday, giving tough time to people. The Army joined local policemen and cops of Special Operations Group in conducting frisking of private vehicles and pedestrians in several summer capital areas. 'Nakas' were also laid at various road junctions while frisking was conducted along the Srinagar-Jammu highway too.
Witnesses said at some places, the commuters who were not having their identity cards with them were asked to bend and touch their ears as part of punishment. The Army also laid a 'naka' by placing drums at a spot, few hundred meters ahead of G B Pant hospital here—outside the army's 15 Corps headquarters. The 'naka' was laid late on Tuesday evening and continued to remain in place on Wednesday, with soldiers asking commuters to put off headlights of their vehicles while crossing the barricade in the evening.
Today, intense frisking jointly by Army, police and SOG men led to traffic jams from Pantha Chowk to Sonwar here. Witnesses and almost all private vehicles coming from South Kashmir to Srinagar were stopped and frisked at Sempora first, then at Athwajan near the spot where the Army has placed a "battle-tank", then again at Sonwar and then at Zero Bridge.
"I was stopped at four places and asked to show my identity card. Two of my relatives were not having it with them, and they were asked to come out of the vehicle. Police and SoG men asked them to bend on their knees and touch their ears as part of the punishment," said Jehangir Ahmed Bhat, a resident of Kakapora, Pulwama.
Pertinently, police sources have said they have "inputs about militant movement from South Kashmir to Srinagar." The Army, however, said the joint exercise was a "preparedness drill" to deal with any sort of "misadventure by the militants."
'NIGHT DRILLS' BY INDIAN AIR FORCE TRIGGER PANIC
Meanwhile, panic gripped dozens of uptown areas in Srinagar when the Indian Air Force planes carried out "night drills", disrupting the sleep of residents.
Witnesses said they heard sudden sounds of Air Force jets hovering in the skies late in the evening. "One aircraft was making several rounds. We couldn't sleep throughout the night. For a moment, we thought a war has started between India and Pakistan," said Javaid Ahmed, a resident of Rawalpora area. Muneer Rasool, a resident of nearby Sanat Nagar, said there was a deafening sound of planes making rounds in the air. "It was around 11.30 pm when we heard sounds of planes. Panic gripped all my family members and we couldn't sleep for the whole night," Muneer said.
Locals from many other areas that include Wanabal, Nowgam, Chanapora, Rangreth, Airport Road, Hyderpora, Peerbagh and Barzulla also expressed similar views.
Meanwhile, an army official said the people should not get panicky. "These are routine drills," he said.
Army's spokesman in Srinagar Colonel Rajesh Kalai said "these were routine flying exercises and nothing else."