Srinagar: Kashmir Range Inspector General of Police (IGP) Munir Khan has played down the growing desertion of policemen from the force. He told Kashmir Reader on Tuesday that the police department has designed an “internal mechanism” to stop the crossing over of policemen to militant ranks.
“We have put in place a check mechanism. But we cannot disclose it due to operational reasons,” Khan said.
He said the number of cops deserting the force was not even a “trickle”. He also said that whoever picks up the gun to challenge the state will be “killed”.
“It might be a cop or somebody else from any other government service, if he picks up the weapon it will be considered as an offence and will be dealt with accordingly. If he challenges the state with a gun in his hand, he will be killed,” Khan said.
The IGP said that the police have studied some cases to know what factors compel a cop to become a militant. “The factors which make a cop join militancy are related to his family profile and (attraction for) glamour. Another factor is money. We have arrested two cops for supplying ammunitions to militants. So there are different reasons for different people,” Khan said.
Despite the IGP’s confidence, it should be a matter of concern for police and government that the number of cops deserting the force to join militant ranks is only increasing.
In the most recent incident, Ishfaq Ahmad Dar, 24, a police constable posted at Kathua in Jammu, joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit. He went missing from home at Heff village in south Kashmir’s Shopian, where he had come for holidays.
The news of the police constable joining militant ranks was broken when a picture of him flaunting an AK-47 rifle and wearing a magazine vest went viral on social media. The picture was imposed with the text that Dar alias Abu Akram had joined the Lashkar.
Earlier, Abdul Rashid Shigan, the personal security officer of a superintendent-rank police officer, was arrested by police on charges of carrying out 13 attacks in Srinagar. It included the killing of a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police and an attack on the Station House Officer (SHO) of Batamaloo, who survived but sustained grievous injuries.
In the past couple of years, six cops have deserted the police force. An army man has also fled from his unit during this time, while two constables have been arrested for supplying ammunition to militants of Hizbul Mujahideen.
Constable Syed Naveed Mushtaq had fled with four INSAS rifles from the guard post at a Food Corporation of India godown located in central Kashmir’s Budgam. The police said the constable had joined the Hizb.
In April 2016, Constable Naseer Ahmad Pandith was killed during an encounter with government forces in Shopian. A resident of Pulwama, the slain cop was the personal bodyguard of cabinet minister Altaf Bukhari and had deserted the force along with two rifles. He later joined Hizb.
A couple of months ago, an army man, Zahoor Ahmad Thokar, who also hailed from Pulwama, deserted his army unit located in Baramulla along with a rifle and ammunitions, to join the Hizb.
Special Police Officer (SPO) Javaid Ahmad joined the Hizb and subsequently got killed in Budgam area of central Kashmir. Another SPO, Syed Raqib Bashir, joined militant ranks two years ago and was killed in Pulwama this year. He was an active militant of Hizb.