A youth was killed and two others injured after protestors clashed with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday, reported local news agency GNS. A major search operation was launched in about two dozen villages of Pulwama, with the police claiming to have inputs about the presence of militants in Putrigam, Rohmu, Rajpora, Matrigam, Goosu and Frasipora villages.

Fayaz Ahmad Wani, a resident of Goosu village, suffered bullet injuries. He was taken to a nearby hospital and then referred to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar, where doctors declared him brought dead.

The two injured youth reportedly suffered pellet injuries and were being treated in a hospital.

The search operation was carried out by personnel of the police’s Special Operations Group, the Army and the Central Reserve Police Force. “So far, there have been no reports of any exchange of fire in any of the villages included in the search,” an unidentified police officer told IANS.

Eyewitnesses told Kashmir Reader that the security forces were conducting house-to-house searches. “The search operation started shortly after Fajr prayers,” Mohammad Shafi, a resident of Murran, told the newspaper. “The government forces entered houses and sought details from inmates. Even passersby at some places were subjected to identification checks. Their mobile phones too were screened.”

This is first massive operation in South Kashmir since 11 relatives of police personnel were abducted by militants last week. They were all released later. The abductions were reportedly in retaliation against the police’s move to detain the family members of three Hizbul Mujahideen militants.

However, Pulwama Senior Superintendent of Police Chandan Kohli said these operations were nothing new. Security forces often undertake these operations to stop militants from establishing a foothold in the region, he added.