Dam Burst
 Armed militants target controversial Wullar Barrage
 Wullar Barrage site after the attack

Sopore: The attack on Wullar Barrage, a project to raise water level of Asia’s biggest fresh water lake in Sopore, by heavily armed militants has left security agencies red faced. A massive hunt has been launched jointly by army, naval commandos Marcos, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police to trace out the militants responsible for the attack.

Heavily armed group of around 16 militants appeared at village Ningli in Wullar area, around five kilometres from Sopore, at around 11:30 p.m. on August 27, and beat up engineers and workers of the project who were staying at the project site.

The militants also blasted off a portion of the project just to terrorise the engineers and workers. However, no major damage was caused to the project. The militants asked the drivers of earthmovers to dismantle portion of the project with their machinery. The terrified drivers immediately followed the order. They also deflated tyres of the tippers.

The workers and engineers were asked to leave by 11 a.m. next day and stop work on the project with immediate effect. Militants spent several hours at the project site, and surprisingly, the security agencies didn’t notice them. A Rashtriya Rifles company headquarter is just two kilometres away from the spot where the militants spent half of the night terrorising the workers. At day break, workers fled the site, and now work on the project is suspended. Around 300 people were working on the Wullar project since March this year. The police have assured the workers and the contractors of full security and asked them to resume their work.

Yet, the fear remains. Speaking to FORCE, Mohammad Yasin Wani, main contractor of the project, said, “No worker is ready to work for the project. They have all fled away.” He has also stopped work and is now busy removing the material dumped at the construction site. “It is a big issue and I don’t want to work here anymore,” he added.

Even though a massive hunt has been launched by the army, navy, police and CRPF to track the militants, they haven’t been successful. Wullar has dense forest area inside and this was a natural hideout of militants during early 1990s. The security forces are combing the forests, and searching for them all over the place.

The Wullar Barrage project that was targeted by militants is a navigation lock-cum-control structure at the mouth of Wullar Lake. The objective was to raise the water level of the lake and regulate the flow into Jhleum for the use of power projects in Sopore.

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