Ajaz Mir’s lisenced pistol also taken
Srinagar: A day after a special police officer (SPO) who had joined militant ranks was killed fighting government forces in Budgam, another SPO decamped with seven AK-47 rifles and a licensed pistol from the official residence of a legislator in Srinagar’s high-security zone.
Adil Bashir Sheikh, a native of Zainpora Shopian, was part of the security detail of PDP MLA from Shopian’s Wachi constituency Ajaz Mir, a police official told Kashmir Reader. He said that the SPO escaped with seven AK-47 rifles of his colleagues and a licensed pistol from MLA Ajaz Mir’s official Jawahar Nagar residence. Ajaz Mir told Kashmir Reader that the licensed pistol belonged to him.
According to Mir, his personal security guards had gone to their homes when he had left for Jammu a few days ago. Adil returned to the Jawahar Nagar residence from his home on Friday and escaped with the rifles.
“All other guards were at their homes and had kept their weapons at the residence,” said Mir.
Soon after, police sounded a high alert in Srinagar and carried out searches of vehicles on roads to nab the absconding policeman.
Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh for information leading to the arrest of Adil along with the weapons he had decamped with.
The incident has occurred at a time when SPOs have been quitting their jobs after being threatened with death by Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo alias Mohammad Bin Qasim. The resignations have emerged mainly from Adil’s hometown Shopian, leading the police to suspend internet to curb circulation of videos through which SPOs were announcing resignations on social media.
A senior police official, requesting anonymity, said that the personal security officer of MLA Ajaz Mir informed the Raj Bagh police station about the missing weapons and pointed out the role of SPO Adil.
Immediately, a police team reached the residence to launch an inquiry and filed a case (FIR no 57/18), the official said.
Adil had become an SPO in 2017, joining an irregular police force working on a monthly honorarium of Rs 6,000 which the Home ministry in Delhi this week hiked after the resignation spree. Earlier, several cases of policeman deserting their jobs to join militant ranks have occurred in the past three years but this is the first time when a policeman has decamped with eight weapons.
During the PDP-BJP government, a policeman-turned-most wanted militant Naseer Pandit guarding the residence of PDP MLA Altaf Bukhari decamped with two rifles in 2015 to join Hizbul Mujahideen. He was later killed in a gunfight in Shopian two years ago.
A day ago, an SPO who had decamped with a weapon two months ago was among two Hizbul Mujahideen militants killed in a daylong gunfight with government forces in Budgam.