PANIC IN THE RANKS
The militants’ strategy of targeting policemen in the Valley is taking a toll on the force
The September 21 killings of three Jammu & Kashmir police personnel—Firdous Ahmad Kuchey, Nisar Ahmad Dhobi and Kulwant Singh— in Shopian district have set off a wave of panic in the Valley. The government and security establishment tried to downplay it, but there has been a flood of resignations, particularly among the lowest ranks of the force.
Coordinated apparently by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo, police officials say some two dozen militants carried out the pre-dawn strikes in Batagund and Kapran villages. In a replay of earlier cop killings in south Kashmir, the policemen were taken from their homes at gunpoint and shot at pointblank range. The victims include the breadwinner of the only Rajput family that had stayed on after the exodus of Hindus from the Valley in the 1990s.
Just days earlier, Naikoo, who was recently responsible for the abduction of a number of policemen’s family members, had issued an ultimatum ordering SPOs (special police officers) to quit or face death. Describing them as “silent killers being used by India against the [Kashmiri] freedom struggle” in a Facebook post, he accused them of tipping off security forces about militant movements and hideouts in the hinterland. Posters bearing a similar warning also appeared at a
COLLATERAL DAMAGEA police officer lays floral wreaths on the coffins of the slain policemen, Shopian, Sept. 21