Indian Army has planned to re-introduce cordon and search operations (CASO) as a part of its counter terrorism operations after a gap of 15 years. The major objective behind the reintroduction of combing operations is to bring the situation in the Kashmir Valley under control. Hereafterwards, Army will carry out CASO in a major way to flush out militants in the militancy-hit areas of Kulgam, Pulwama, Tral, Budgam and Shopian in south Kashmir, indicating a change in strategy.
CASO was a regular feature of Army’s counter-terrorism operations in the 1990s. The security forces made use of “area domination and sweep” operations in the 1990s. During those times, such operations were commonly conducted by the Indian Army. Later, following the complaints of discomfort caused to the local population, the Army switched to specific intelligence-based operations involving small teams and CASO was discontinued.
The recent decision to re-introduce CASO comes against the backdrop of the recent killing of unarmed Kashmiri Army officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz in Shopian by militants.
Recently, the Army, security forces and police had also carried out a massive cordon and combing operation in south Kashmir’s Shopian district following the recent militant attacks on policemen and banking facilities. It was the first time in 15 years that the combing operation of this magnitude involving 4,000 troops was conducted by the security forces.