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CASOs in many south Kashmir villages.

As the Amarnath yatra began amid a multi-tier security setup today, the government forces launched Cordon and Search Operations (CASOs) in many areas in south Kashmir.

Since Wednesday morning, a string of villages in three south Kashmir districts— Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag, were subjected to CASOs by the government forces.Clashes broke out at Bellow village in Pulwama during a CASO.

A police official said that personnel of 44 RR, CRPF and SOG laid a siege around Bellow village following the inputs about the presence of militants in the area.He said that during the search operation, the forces were pelted with stones and bricks in the area.

“The forces responded by firing pellets and tear gas shells,” he added.

Some unconfirmed reports said that there was a brief exchange of fire between the militants and the forces. However, no loss of life or injury was reported.

Meanwhile, government forces cordoned off Mantribugh village in Shopian and launched a door-to-door search operation.A police official said the search operation was launched after the forces received a specific tip-off about the presence of militants in the area.The operation was on till the last reports came in.

Earlier in the day, forces laid a siege around Pinjoora area in Shopian and started a door-to-door search operation. “After few hours, the operation was concluded peacefully,” said a police official who was the part of the operation. In the late afternoon, forces launched a CASO in Seepan and Arwani areas in Anantnag. While the operation ended peacefully in Seepan village, the searches were going on in Arwani area when this report was being filed.

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