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  India   All India  22 Sep 2018  Militants kill 3 J&K cops, MHA denies resignation reports

Militants kill 3 J&K cops, MHA denies resignation reports

THE ASIAN AGE. | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published : Sep 22, 2018, 1:32 am IST
Updated : Sep 22, 2018, 1:32 am IST

Some villagers chased the militants, but they fired their AK-47 rifles in the air to scare them away.

Police officers and family members carry coffins of the three special police officers who were killed by militants at a base camp in Shopian, Jammu & Kashmir, on Friday. (Photo: AP)
 Police officers and family members carry coffins of the three special police officers who were killed by militants at a base camp in Shopian, Jammu & Kashmir, on Friday. (Photo: AP)

SRINAGAR: In a gory act, three special police officers (SPOs) were abducted and subsequently killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Shopian district on Friday, evoking outrage across the country. The cowardly act came after a video by an offshoot of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) surfaced on social media on Tuesday, asking policemen to quit within four days or face death.

Authorities in J&K blamed the killing of the SPOs — Firdous Ahmed Kuchay, Kulwant Singh and Nisar Ahmed Dhobi — on Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), and said that a massive manhunt was underway to capture the perpetrators, dead or alive. “I assure you, those involved in this act of cowardice will be brought to justice soon,” inspector general of police (Kashmir range) S.P. Pani said.

Soon after the SPOs killing, some news reports said that six J&K policemen and SPOs had resigned, four of whom posted their resignation videos on social media. In one of these videos, a policeman can be heard saying, “My name is Irshad Ahmad Baba and I was working as a constable in the police. I have tendered my resignation”.

However, a statement issued by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) in Delhi denied that any policeman has resigned in J&K after the kidnapping and murder of three SPOs. Calling the reports “untrue and motivated”, it termed them as false propaganda by certain  “mischievous elements”.

J&K police said that the three SPOs were found murdered after they were kidnapped by gunmen in Shopian’s Kapran and Batagund villages early Friday. “Their bullet riddled corpses were found in the district’s Dangam village, not very far from the places they had been kidnapped from,” a police official said.

Bashir Ahmed, brother of slain SPO Nisar, said, “They (gunmen) had already captured two persons — Firdous Ahmed and Kulwant Singh — from Batagund (a neighbouring village). Then they came here (Kapran) and asked my brother to come along. He was performing wudu (ritual washing performed in preparation for prayer). They allowed him to do it.”

Some villagers chased the militants, but they fired their AK-47 rifles in the air to scare them away. “They told us that they would set them free after taking their videos,” Bashir said.

The gunmen, along with the abductees, crossed a mountain stream and disappeared. “After some time we heard gunshots and we thought the Army has opened fire. But later we came to know that all three have been shot dead,” Bashir said. The villagers said that the gunmen had captured one more SPO, but they persuaded them to release him unharmed.

The police said that preliminary investigation revealed the “complicity of proscribed terror outfits HM and LeT in this barbaric act”. Both the HM and the LeT are, so far, silent over the incident.

The police pointed out that the kidnapping and murder of the SPOs came days after the HM had put out a video threatening to kill policemen, especially SPOs unless they posted their resignations online.

“On Tuesday, a video surfaced on social media featuring a collage of images of the J&K police and a voice asking the policemen to quit within four days. They were asked by terrorist Umar Ibn Khitaab belonging to Umar Majeed group, an offshoot of the HM, to upload their resignations on the internet or face death,” a police official said. The outfit had also threatened to kill the family members of the policemen who would choose to “stay back” at work.

MHA asserted that the J&K police is a highly professional and a committeed police force, which is fully geared up to meet any security challenges, particularly the ones related to upcoming panchayat and local urban body elections.

Tags: hizb-ul-mujahideen, lashkar-e-tayyaba, ministry of home affairs