Militants-turned-cops escape in Doda, take service rifles along

Srinagar: Two former Hizbul Mujahideen militants who had joined the police force as Special Police Officers have fled, taking along their service rifles and a few magazines of AK-47 rifle, reports said on Tuesday.
The reports, quoting police officials, said Reyaz Ahmed and Gul Muhammad were Hizb militants before they surrendered and started working as SPOs.
An SPO is like a mercenary force in the police. They are paid a meager amount every month besides free meals. The remaining members of the barbarian counterinsurgency militia, Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen, largely comprised the SPO force, which is said to be about 20,000 strong.
In March this year, R&B minister Altaf Bukhari’s personal guard, constable Naseer Ahmad, fled and took two rifles and two magazines along.
In August last year, four separate incidents saw four cops and an army soldier deserting their camps along with their weapons from twin districts of Kulgam and Baramulla.
The first incident occurred in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on August 8, when SPOs Gul Mohammad Rahi and Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din deserted the District Police Lines along with two AK-47 service rifles. Both the SPOs were earlier associated with a government- supported militia.
On the same day, a suspended SPO Bashir Ahmad Bhat entered the SOG camp in the district and fled with a rifle. The third incident of the day was also reported from the district when a Territorial Army trooper Shakeel Ahmad Bhat alias Tiger also fled from his camp along with his service rifle.
Ten days after the Kulgam incidents, an SOG cop Mohammad Shafi Dar of Nowpora, Sopore fled away with his AK-47 rifle from Seelu area. He was arrested from Dangiwacha a month later.
Some of these persons are learnt to have joined militant organizations.