Militants barge in police guard room, decamp with weapons

Militants snatched five rifles from police guards who were posted at the Shopian District Court complex in South Kashmir.

A group of militants attacked the guard room of the court complex around late last night and managed to snatch away five self-loading rifles (SLRs) from the policemen posted at the spot.

Police have registered a case and the five policemen who were posted for the security duty were later placed under suspension.

A senior police official said that five policemen were suspended for the dereliction of duty. He said that it was seen as an “ act of connivance’’ with the militants as the police personnel didn’t retaliate back after they were attacked.

After the incident, the police have sounded an alert and the combing operation has been launched for the militants who fled from the spot. The Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama areas have seen a spate of incidents of militancy including that of weapon snatching. In a recent incident militants managed to snatch away the weapons of the police personnel and killed five of them as they were carrying the cash for delivery.

Police officials said that the police personnel who were posted at the guard room were identified as Fayaz Ahmed from Kupwara, Farooq Ahmed from Srinagar, Fayaz Bhat from Kupwara, Shabir Ahmed from Pulwama and Muzaffar Ahmed from Anantnag.

“The security scenario remains precarious after the recent incidents of weapon snatching. Incidents of weapon snatching and attacks on the banks have also increased,’’ said a senior official, adding that on Tuesday only militants had intercepted the van carrying policemen carrying cash.

According to police officials security has been particularly beefed up after the increase in the incidents of weapon snatching and the patrolling has been intensified at the market places.

Pertinently, weapon-snatching from government forces is the first step for potential recruits to join militant groups in Kashmir who face acute shortage of arms and ammunition as more and more youths are joining militants and the supply of guns from across the border has dried up significantly.

The trend gained currency especially after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last year in an encounter following which at least 80 youths, mostly from south Kashmir districts, have joined different militant groups operating in the Valley.

According to official data, since Burhan Wani’s killing, nearly 100 weapons including AK-47, INSAS, Carbine and SLR have been snatched from forces personnel, prompting the J&K police to issue an advisory to its forces in March this year.

“All of these weapons land in the hands of new recruits of militancy whose numbers are growing with every passing day. It is a disturbing situation which can spell doom for the situation in Kashmir as more youths are joining militants. It is not a good development,” a police officer said.



Time line

September 7, 2016: Militants decamp with four service rifles of policemen guarding a former National Conference leader’s house in Kulgam district

September 17: Four rifles snatched from the police post guarding PDP’s Anantnag district president Javaid Ahmad’s house in the Dialgam area of Anantnag district

October 3: Five rifles snatched from policemen guarding a minority community in the DH Pora area of Kulgam district

On 27 March 2017, four rifles were snatched from the cops deployed at the ancestral home of J&K minister Syed Farooq Andrabi.

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