SRINAGAR: Since the onset of armed militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, 1,622 policemen of the J&K Police have been killed, reveal police data.
Formed in 1873, the J&K Police have a force of over one lakh men and more than 20,000 Special Police Officers (SPOs).
Police data about the death of its men since 1989 reveals that among those who died in the conflict are a deputy inspector general of police (DIG) and a superintendent of police (SP) rank officer as well.
“Besides the regular policemen, VDCs [Village Defence Committees] and SPOs too come under our department,” said a top police official.
VDCs were formed in the state’s Chenab and Pir Panjal valleys for the training of Hindu civilians who were allotted arms to safeguard them and their areas. SPOs are civilians engaged by the police administration on a contract basis with the option of being regularised after at least five years of service.
Giving rank-wise details of the slain policemen, the official said a DIG named Muhammad Amin Bhat was killed in a militant attack at Barzulla.
“Most of the slain policemen are from the constabulary,” he said, putting the figure at 828.
“One SP, 20 deputy SPs, 24 Inspectors, 34 SIs [sub-inspectors], 63 assistant SIs, 142 head constables, 166 senior-grade constables, 520 constables, 490 SPOs and 20 followers were killed since 1989 in militancy-related incidents,” he informed.
Besides, the official added, 131 VDC members were also killed by militants.
“Since September 2016,” the officer added, “the J&K Police have lost 30 men in one year.”
The police official said that a deputy SP was killed on June 22 in Nowhatta area of Srinagar by a group of people during night hours which coincided with Shab-i-Qadr, a sacred night for Muslims. At least 10 persons, including juveniles, have been arrested in the case.
Sources in the police said that around 5,000 government forces personnel, including soldiers from the Indian army, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Force have been killed since 1989 up to September 2017.
The families of policemen who die in the line of duty, the official said, “are paid an ex-gratia of around Rs 43 lakh”.
“From our Welfare Fund,” said the official, referring to the J&K Police Welfare Fund, “the slain policemen are given Rs 15 lakh.”
He added that donations for the welfare fund are deducted every month from the J&K Police personnel’s salaries.
Besides, sources informed, “the state government now pays Rs 20 lakh as ex-gratia. In the past, it would pay Rs 7 lakh only. The slain cops also get insurance and other benefits… The government of India is examining case of paying slain cops ex-gratia equal to that of central forces including the CRPF.”
The “increase” in the number of killings, another top police officer said, wishing to remain anonymous, “are related to the increase in militant attacks.”
In one of the deadliest attacks, six policemen were killed this July in a coordinated attack by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in Achabal area of Anantnag district. The slain policemen included an SI rank official, Feroz Dar, who was station house officer, Achabal Police Station.
The J&K Police will observe its commemoration day on October 21, the official informed.