Srinagar: Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo on Friday released an audio message claiming responsibility for the abduction of family members and relatives of policemen and set a three-day deadline for the release of all relatives of militants who are in police custody.
Police officials refused to confirm or deny the authenticity of the nearly 12-minute audio clip that was widely circulate on social media today.
“We did not want to involve your families in this. We picked up your relatives so that you realise what (our) mothers go through when you arrest their innocent kin,” the voice attributed to Naikoo says in the audio clip.
“We kidnapped your relatives so that you know that we can reach you. We have set them free with full dignity this time but next time it will not be repeated… we will act according to how you act,” Naikoo said, adding that this was the last warning he was giving to police.
“Release all our relatives within three days. If you fail to release them within this time, your families would not be safe anymore,” he said.
“India is trying to instigate infighting between Kashmiris as part of its strategy to crush the freedom struggle. Unfortunately, the Kashmiri police personnel have become part of this conspiracy,” he said.
Naikoo said that policemen were on the frontlines of every counter-insurgency operation and they were the ones dying during encounters. He said that militants were not fighting the police.
“Had it been so, we would force them (cops) to migrate within one month. We are fighting India but unfortunately the Kashmir Police has become the frontline of this battle,” he said.
“We have tolerated a lot and made a lot of efforts to make them (cops) understand, but in vain. From now on, whoever becomes an obstacle in our mission, he will be treated the same way as the enemy,” he warned.
“When the army goes on a vandalism spree in villages, the Kashmiri policemen are there with them. Our families are unnecessarily booked under PSA,” he said.