SHOPIAN: Families of policemen in Shopian district, already in fear after a spate of warnings and attacks against policemen, are terrified after Friday’s abduction and killing of three policemen by militants. While dozens of videos and pictures of policemen holding resignation letters or announcing their resignation have been circulated on social media, in one Shopian village seven policemen announced their resignation through a local cleric after Friday congregational prayers. Many of the policemen were seen sitting besides family members in the mosque while their resignation was being announced.
A daughter of a policeman living in this village told Kashmir Reader that she and her four siblings were pursuing their education on their father’s meagre salary. “We began to blow off lamps in our rooms before 8pm ever since four policemen were killed at Arhama recently. And now three more killings have added to our fear. We have no land or any other source of income except our father’s police job,” she said, adding that they had told their father to resign but are apprehensive about what would happen if he did.
Muhammad Yousuf, the father of a policeman living in a Shopian village, said that he had told his son not to visit home. “I told him to spend the vacations in Srinagar. I have never known such fear, even though my son has been working in the police department for 15 years,” he said.
The killing of three policemen on Friday morning, soon after they were abducted from their homes in Shopian villages, only ratcheted up the fear that families of policemen have been gripped with in recent months. On August 30, four policemen who were part of the escort of DySP Headquarters Shopian were killed in broad daylight on the outskirts of Shopian town. Before that, policeman Javid Ahmad was abducted from outside his home and his corpse, bearing torture marks, was found in the village the next morning.
Kashmir chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, Riyaz Naikoo, recently released an audio message warning policemen to quit their jobs or face dire consequences.
In another audio which Naikoo released after militants abducted family members and relatives of a dozen policemen in south Kashmir, he warned police to not take part in anti-militancy operations and to not harass militants’ families.
“We (militants) are hundreds in number and you (policemen) are in thousands. If you don’t step back, then we, too, will strike against you,” Naikoo said in his message.
Bashir Ahmad, a policeman living in Shopian, told Kashmir Reader that he did not understand why only policemen were being targeted. “All government jobs are the same. Why only we are the target? If employees of other department resign, we too will resign,” he said.
A senior police officer based in south Kashmir claimed that there is no fear among policemen or SPOs. “There is no fear psychosis among policemen, no matter which wing they are affiliated with. But militants are trying to create that (fear). It is the frustration of militants because of constant successful operations (against them),” he said. The officer said, “One can make anyone announce resignation on gunpoint, but it is not true. They (militants) on gunpoint forced boys to make videos to announce resignation. They think that by doing this, the operations would stop. But they are wrong. Now there will be pin-point operations against them and they would be wiped out.”
The officer said that the killing of three policemen instead of bringing down the police’s morale, will raise it further. “Our morale was high and it will remain so,” he said.