Jammu and Kashmir: Shopian residents living in fear; millitants warn policemen to quit job or face dire consequences

Shopian: The fruit-rich Shopian district of South Kashmir is living in fear after a spate of warnings and attacks by militants. According to reports, after Friday’s abduction and killing of three policemen by Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker militants, family members of policemen were seen sitting in the mosque while their resignation was being announced.

“We are in the line of fire always, anything can happen to us. We have families here, where will we go? The only option is to leave our jobs and start begging on the streets of Kashmir Valley,” Shawkat Ahmad, SPO in Jammu and Kashmir Police told.

He said, “I have never seen this kind of fear, even militancy was at peak stage. I have three school-going children; they have now started targeting our families.”
“I have no other source of income except this police job. Please tell me what should I do? My family is living in Shopian. My father and my wife have requested me not to visit home,” he added.

“I do not understand why only policemen were being targeted,” he added. Last month, four policemen who were part of the escort of Dy SP Headquarters Shopian were killed in broad daylight on the outskirts of Shopian town.

Before that, Jammu and Kashmir policeman Javid Ahmad was abducted from outside his home and his dead body, bearing torture marks, was found in the village the next morning.

Chief Operational Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Riyaz Naikoo had recently released an audio message warning policemen to quit their jobs or face dire consequences.

He had accused the Special Police Officers (SPOs) of being mere informers of security forces, and repeatedly asked the SPOs to quit their jobs.

Special Police Officer Rafeeqa Akhtar, wife of Ghulam Mohammed Thokar, has resigned. Rafeeqa, a resident of Bongam in Hall area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam District, became the first lady SPO who resigned from police job in Kulgam.

In a video which appeared on the social networking sites, she said, “I am leaving the Police job without fear or pressure.”

In south Kashmir, around 12,000-15,000 families of policemen are caught in the line of fire, and all the roads to the South Kashmir areas reveal the tension which is slowly spreading.

Meanwhile, Special forces of Indian Army killed top commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit in an encounter in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Sunday morning. The slain Jaish commander is identified as Abu Adnan of Pakistan. Weapons and other incriminating material was also recovered.

The operation was launched following credible inputs about his presence in the Tral area. (MM)