3 more militants killed in Bandipora, toll 5
No SPO resigned, it’s propaganda: DGP
Srinagar, Sept 21: Militants today abducted and killed three policemen in Shopian district of South Kashmir while security forces killed three militants in an encounter in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district taking toll of militants killed in the operation since yesterday to five.
The militants abducted three Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a civilian during raids in two villages of Shopian district in the wee hours of the morning. Those abducted were identified as Firdous Ahmad Kuchey and Kuldeep Singh – both residents of Batgund Shopian, and Nisar Ahmad Dhobi and Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, residents of Kapran. Fayaz Ahmad is the brother of a policeman, who was let off.
Police in the morning recovered bodies of the three police men from nearby Wangam village and they were shot multiple times. Bashir Ahmad Dhobi, brother of one of the killed cops, Nisar Ahmad Dhobi said: “I was preparing for morning prayers when militants came and took my brother along. They said that they have to make a video and will let him off. But after half an hour we heard firing. We rushed to the area and recovered three dead bodies after around an hour”.
Inspector General of Police, S P Pani said that the three policemen were found dead near an orchard in Wangam village, few kilometres from the spot of their abduction. “It is a cowardly act by terrorists. Three of our colleagues were martyred. We are investigating the incident. We will take appreciate action against those responsible for it”, he said.
Security forces immediately reached the spot and a massive operation was launched in the area against the militants responsible for the killing of the cops. Barricades have been erected on many roads in the area and searches of vehicles are being conducted.
Wreath laying ceremony was held in the District Police Lines Shopian this afternoon. Civil and Police officers led by IGP Kashmir SP Pani laid floral wreaths and paid rich tributes to the cops.
Based on initial probe, police said the killings of SPOs were executed by Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba.
And three militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed today in an encounter in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district that was going on since yesterday taking the number of militants killed in the operation to five.
The gunfight raged in Sumlar forests yesterday afternoon and ended with the killings of five militants. “The bodies of all five militants killed in the gunfight have been retrieved,” police said, adding that search operation is still on at the site of the gunfight. The identity of the slain militants is yet to be established.
A police spokesman said that the militants were affiliated with LeT. “Apparently they were part of freshly infiltrated group. Huge quantity of arms, ammunition and incriminating material was recovered from the site of encounter,” he said. Police has registered a case and investigation is going on.
Army, Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police and the paramilitary CRPF had launched a cordon and search operation in the area against the militant group on Thursday morning.
Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh described the videos of the SPOs, that appeared in social media and in which they were saying that they have resigned from services, as propaganda on part of militants. “It is a propaganda move by the enemies. They have been trying these type of tactics in past also. Our SPOs are most low rank of a police force and they have their families to take care of”, he said.
“It is a 30,000 strong force of SPOs spread over length and breadth of the State. Most of them are doing wonderful job and they are helpful to people. They have been doing their job in the interest of people and appreciated by all. We too stand by the families of the martyred SPOs in this hour of grief”, he said.
The DGP described the SPOs as wonderful force who are doing great job. “It is more of a rumour mongering kind of thing that is going on. if there is anything like it that will be looked into. It is a wonderful force and we have been seriously concerned about the welfare of them in past and even now there is big scheme for the welfare of the SPOs which is under consideration of the Government”, he said.
He said that Government recognizes the contribution of SPOs in maintaining peace and order in the State. “Government does recognize the contribution made by them and maintenance of peace and order in the State and they are duty to the general public of the State. As a token of the recognition of the duties performed by them, Government is seriously thinking about very major incentives to the SPOs and it is likely to unfold very soon. We are proud of our SPOs and Constables, they are all over on the ground doing their duties and I am sure they will continue to do their duties in same dedication”, he added.
It may be mentioned here that soon after the killings of the cops, at least six SPOs uploaded videos on the social networking sites to announce their resignation from police. An SPO, identifying himself as Nawaz Ahmad Lone of Tengam, Kulgam said: “I was Special Police Officer (SPO) with Police. I have no affiliation with Police since September 20, 2018. I am not leaving the job under any duress but willingly”.
Another SPO Tajjala Hussain Lone son of Abdul Wahab Lone of Heepora Batgund, South Kashmir, said in the uploaded video: “I was working as SPO with police for last six years. I have resigned from Police on September 17 and have no affiliation with police since then. I will sit at home”, he said.
Another SPO Shabir Ahmad Thokar son of Ghulam Mohidin Thokar of Sawla, South Kashmir said in the video: “I was working as SPO with police for last 8years. Through this video I want to tell people that since September 20, I have no association with police. I am resigning from police willingly and am not under any duress.”
Last month, militants abducted 11 cops and their relatives in retaliation of detention of families of the militants in South Kashmir. They were, however, released by the militants after the police released the family members of the Hizb ul Mujahideen militants.
The abductions come after repeated threats by militants to police asking them to resign from their services.