Sopore, Jun 18: Mounting fear and anxiety have gripped Kashmir's apple town of Sopore as the fresh reign of terror unleashed by a breakaway faction of militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen turns the place into a ghost town.
Six deaths in six weeks which included four between June 12 and June 15 in a spate of attacks has made the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir and the state police to sit up and work on strategies to restore calm before the situation further escalates.
A ride through Sopore town early this week saw gun-toting policemen, innocent people tormented by new suspicions and deserted streets as an eerie silence reflects the fear of the unknown danger lurking in the shadows.
Police barricades at several places have also been erected marking a return of this security measure to prevent any further attacks.
"We have stopped going to mosques for our evening prayers and prefer to remain indoors as the sun sets," Mohammed Yakoob, a shopkeeper said.
Counter Insurgency Grid (CIG) comprising Army's Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operations Group of J and K Police and CRPF has enhanced its presence in the town, 52 km from capital Srinagar, and erected barricades in the town at vantage places like Bomai, Waripura, Munish, Dooru and Sheeri.
Sopore was the focus of attention at the Unified Command meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed who asked all heads of Army, paramilitary and police forces to work towards restoration of law and order in this district.
Checking of vehicles, random searches and a vigil on entry and exit points have increased in the town in a bid to squeeze the space for militants.
The town which has maximum signboards on shops painted with green symbolising town's affiliation to Jamaat-e-Islamia had returned to virtual normalcy with the local police carrying out concerted efforts against banned Pakistan-based outfit Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) and driving them out of Sopore.
The area, which saw militants lobbing grenade at a cell phone tower on Tuesday night, has always been the stronghold of hardline Tehrek-e-Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who had represented this area as an MLA in 1977.