Nearly one dozen family members of cops have been kidnapped by terrorists.
There is a new wave of fear, anger and protests in South Kashmir as terrorists and cops have started attacking each others’ families. With terrorists kidnapping the family members of cops in the past 48 hours, dozens of cops have decided to shift their families to safe havens.
The police’s top brass in Jammu and Kashmir has been asked to find out how, even in the absence of their nod, the family members of the terrorists were arrested in South Kashmir, which attracted reprisal attacks. After four cops were killed in Shopian this week, some men from the Special Operations Group (SOG) allegedly torched the houses of three terrorists who were believed to be behind the attack. The protesting villagers told the media that it was due to their timely intervention that the “fire” did not spread to adjacent villages. Soon after the police arrested dozens of family members of underground terrorists in night raids in South Kashmir, the terrorists also attacked the families of the cops on Thursday night and kidnapped about a dozen of their family members.
“We are looking at the facts and have decided to probe how the cops allegedly torched the houses of three terrorists in Shopian. There is no sanction from the higher authorities for such actions,” a senior police officer, who is looking after the operations in South Kashmir, told this reporter. He said that the father of Riyaz Naikoo, operation chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, was arrested for questioning, among others.
It started on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha when terrorists struck and killed five people including four cops in South Kashmir. The series of killings, on Eid eve, led to chaos and fear among the families of hundreds of cops living in different villages of South Kashmir. Unidentified gunmen killed Fayaz Ahmad Shah, a constable in J&K Police after he was coming home from Eid prayers at a local mosque. In Loswani village of Pulwama in South Kashmir, another cop Muhammad Yaqoob Shah was killed when he had come to the village to celebrate Eid. Another cop Muhammad Ashraf Dar, an inspector in J&K Police, was killed inside his house sending shock waves among the villagers. The police has blamed the Hizbul terrorists for the killings.
A senior police officer said that they have released most of the arrested family members of the terrorists after questioning them on Friday. Among those released include the father of Riyaz Naikoo, and two brothers and father of another Hizbul commander in South Kashmir. The terrorists had earlier kidnapped a dozen of family members of cops from different districts of South Kashmir. Later, Riyaz Naikoo took to Twitter and said that they were forced to do so due to the raids in which their family members were thrashed by J&K Police and SOG. He said that there would be now an “eye for an eye” reprisal if the “harassment” did not stop.
JKLF chairman Yasin Malik reminded police chief S.P. Vaid of his series of tweets asking the terrorists not to harass the families of cops. The terrorists have warned the J&K cops to either resign or face consequences. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, while expressing concern over the kidnappings in South Kashmir, said that this was a very worrying development in the valley.
Police officers privy to the developments in South Kashmir said that they were working on the matter to ensure the release of the family members kidnapped by the terrorists. “As we have released most of the family members of the terrorists, we are hopeful that they will also reciprocate,” a police official said on the condition of anonymity. As the terrorists have also started releasing the family members of the cops in South Kashmir, it is expected that police chief S.P. Vaid will ensure that there are no camp level actions without any proper sanction.