From Our Special Correspondent

Chandigarh, India — several hideouts in the Beas river belt falling in Amritsar, Kapurthala and Ferozepur Districts were searched during operation “Munda” carried out by Paramilitary forces and the army. The 8 hour simultaneous operation in the 70 to 80 kilometer belt from Harike Headwork’s was carried out on September 12 after sealing off the area and picketing all routes. Nobody was allowed to go in or come out of his house. Eyewitnesses said that the security forces set on fire the whole area falling between Sutlej and Beas River. Standing paddy crops were set ablaze and thousands of acres were totally destroyed. Security forces also uprooted thousands of trees with the help of the bulldozers. Official sources said that although no known militant Sikh was caught in the operation, 106 young men were arrested from about 25 villages in Amritsar District alone but unofficial sources put that number over one thousand. These persons have been sent to the special interrogation centers set up to find out their main hide outs. Security forces used a dozen helicopters, more than two dozen motor boats in the operation to comb the area and to check the movement of the militants.

The authorities became suspicious that the area was being used as a hideout after the two shoot outs carried on in Rattoke and Munda villages in Sarhali area on August 26 and Sept. 3 in which 5 persons were killed and a few others were injured. The whole Indo Pak border from Kashmir to Gujarat was handed over to army. The dusk to dawn curfew was also imposed in Punjab’s border Districts to offset intervention from Pakistan. The farmers are not even allowed to move out from their houses for watering their crops.

Article extracted from this publication >>  September 20, 1985