Shopian: Three policemen have been killed by militants after being kidnapped in south Kashmir early on Friday morning. The militants barged into the houses of four policemen – three of them Special Police Officers – in Kapran village and dragged them out, said the police.
Three dead bodies of SPOs were found in Shopian, identified as Firdous Ahmad Kuchey and Kuldeep Singh – both residents of Batgund Shopian, and Nisar Ahmad Dhobi, resident of Kapran. Only one Fayaz Ahmed Bhat brother of J&K policeman also from Kapran abducted earlier has been set free by the militants.
Earlier this week, Hizbul Mujahideen militants had put out videos in which they had said policemen should either post their resignations online or prepare to be killed. The home ministry expressed worry about repercussions as the videos floated around in several villages.
The video, in which a man is heard speaking in Kashmiri, surfaced a day after an Army man was shot dead by the Hizbul Mujahideen.
Three weeks ago, three policemen and eight relatives of police personnel were kidnapped by militants in south Kashmir. They were set free after the Jammu and Kashmir police released around a dozen family members of militants, including the father of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Riaz Naikoo.
The swap provoked a huge controversy and was said to be one of the triggers for the abrupt exit of SP Vaid as state police chief.
The rise in kidnappings of security personnel comes as the state heads to local civic body polls and Panchayat elections in October and November. While the PDP and National Conference have decided to stay away from the polls, to protest the purported threat to Article 35-A of the Constitution, separatist groups have asked the “freedom-loving people” of Kashmir to observe a complete boycott.
Article 35-A gives special rights and privileges to citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and bars outsiders from acquiring immovable property in the state.
The security of the candidates contesting in the local body polls has also become a great concern, say sources. Intelligence agencies have warned of increased violence during this period.
The newly appointed police chief of Jammu and Kashmir, Dilbag Singh on Monday, directed his officers to be fully prepared to ensure peaceful and smooth urban local bodies and Panchayat polls in the state.