TAR­GET PRAC­TICE

Po­lice and mil­i­tants train their sights on fam­i­lies in a new low for the Val­ley

India Today - - STATES - By Moazum Mo­ham­mad

Late evening on Au­gust 22, two armed men forced their way into in­spec­tor Mo­ham­mad Ashraf Dar’s home in Pul­wama. They held the of­fi­cer’s two school-go­ing sons hostage till he emerged and when he did, they shot him dead. Dar was the third po­lice­man killed that day. Ear­lier, mil­i­tants had gunned down two cops who were home on leave.

Re­cent months have seen an un­prece­dented of­fen­sive against the po­lice in re­tal­i­a­tion to the mount­ing mil­i­tant ca­su­al­ties. And they are mak­ing a spec­ta­cle of the killings too. A video be­ing cir­cu­lated shows 28-year-old Mo­ham­mad Saleem Shah, an SPO (spe­cial po­lice of­fi­cer) re­cently pro­moted as trainee con­sta­ble, plead­ing with his mil­i­tant cap­tors. Shah’s bul­let-rid­dled body was found out­side Qaimoh vil­lage on July 21.

A week later, Hizbul Mu­jahideen mil­i­tants ab­ducted SPO Mu­dasir Ahmad Lone from his home in Tral. A cook with the po­lice depart­ment, his cap­tors re­leased him af­ter the fam­ily begged for mercy. But the re­lease was fol­lowed by an ul­ti­ma­tum or­der­ing other J&K po­lice per­son­nel to quit their jobs. It led to cer­tain panic in South Kash­mir. In Tral alone, 20 SPOs an­nounced

HABIB NAQASH/GETTY IMAGES

DEATHLY ACTS A rel­a­tive breaks down at a slain po­lice­man’s funeral

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