Two SPOs desert police with weapons, join Lashkar ranks

Sanjeev Pargal
page1-1JAMMU, Sept 8: Two surrendered militants-turned-Special Police Officers (SPOs) escaped from their duty in Doda early today along with official Insas and AK-47 rifles and magazines and were reported to have rejoined the militant ranks. Army and police have launched massive search operations to nab the militants as they could strike anywhere and anytime.
“The escape of two SPOs from the District Police Lines (DPL) Doda was part of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) efforts to revive militancy in the sensitive district, which had been declared militancy-free for the past quite some time. The duo also tried to win over another surrendered militant-turned-SPO but he had refused,” official sources told the Excelsior. The third SPO has been taken into custody for questioning.
The SPOs-turned militants have been identified as Gul Mohammad Mingno alias Gulla son of Bashir Ahmad Mingno, a resident of Mohalla Dandyan, Doda town and Riaz Ahmad son of Abdul Rasid of Dedni, Marmat in Doda. The militants took away with them their service weapons including one Insas rifle, an AK-47 rifle and their three magazines each, while deserting police and joining the militant ranks.
DIG Doda-Ramban range Nissar Ahmad said police personnel have been deployed in all areas, where the militants could take shelter. Checking and frisking of vehicles at all places has been intensified. Army has also been alerted and they too were conducting raids at various places to nab the SPOs-turned-militants. However, till late tonight when the reports last came in, both the militants were untraced.
Sources said there had been reports that the militants were trying to revive militancy in Doda district but Gul Mohammad and Riaz Ahmad were not under scanner as after their surrender, they had done lot of good work against the militancy. Both of them, according to sources, were involved in series of successful operations against the militants and had won laurels from police.
Preliminary inputs revealed that the SPOs had been won over by the LeT leadership from Kashmir to rejoin militant ranks and revive militancy in Doda. Keeping name of third SPO as secret, police said he has confessed having been approached by Gul Mohammad and Riaz Ahmad to rejoin the militancy, but he had refused. He was being questioned by top police officers to ascertain the places the militants could take shelter.
Police said the Call Detail Records (CDRs) of the mobile telephone numbers of the militants have been obtained, on the basis of which some local suspects whom they had called in the past one week were being quizzed. The CDRs revealed that both the SPOs were in touch with each other for past sometime  but intensity of their conversation had increased yesterday, which indicated that they planned to desert police on Monday.
“Investigations have revealed that the two SPOs escaped between 3 am to 6 am today,” sources said.
Riaz Ahmad was on duty at the DPL Doda during the night while Gul Mohammad was on duty at Kashan post, about five kilometers from Doda. Both escape from their respective places of posting and met somewhere,” sources said, adding that Riaz took away with him one AK-47 rifle and three loaded magazines while Gul Mohammad escaped with Insas and three loaded magazines.
Gul Mohammad had surrendered in Doda in 2010 while Riaz had surrendered in Kathua in 2002. They were later recruited as SPOs in police for their good work against the militancy. Even after posting as SPOs, they had done lot of work against the militancy.
Police have registered FIR against the SPOs at Doda police station under various provisions of anti-militancy laws and were conducting searches at various places along with Army and para-military forces to trace them. Doda police have also alerted all police stations, posts and nakas in Jammu and Kashmir and supplied them photographs of the SPOs-turned-militants to nab them.