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Militants abduct and kill 3 cops in Shopian

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6 SPOs announce resignation

Srinagar, Sep 21: Three policemen were abducted from their homes in south Kashmir’s Shopian district and shot dead in cold blood by the militants Friday.

Police blames Hizbul Mujahideen for the killings, which also shook the 1.2 lakh strong Jammu and Kashmir police force with at least six special police officers (SPOs) announcing their resignations on social media.

The bodies of the slain policemen — identified as Constable Nissar Ahmed Dhobi, son of Abdul Rashid, resident of Kapran, Shopian, and special police officers (SPOs) Firdous Kuchay, son of Abdul Gani, and Kulwant Singh, son of Dhoop Singh, both residents of Batagund, Shopian — were found in an orchard across a river, officials said.

A video purportedly from the Hizbul Mujahideen had warned all Kashmiri residents working as SPOs to tender their resignations.

Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Swayam Prakash Pani termed the incident cowardice and said “the militants are desperate as they are feeling the heat from security forces”.

“We have lost three of our brave colleagues in a barbaric terror strike. Our tribute to the three martyred jawans. We will soon bring all the culprits before law,” he added.

The three policemen were kidnapped early Friday morning from their homes at Batagund and Kapran villages, police said.

The residents of Batagund village chased the militants and pleaded with them to not abduct the men. The abductors fired shots in the air and threatened the villagers, officials said.

The militants crossed a river in the area and shot them dead, the officials added.

A post on a Twitter handle purportedly belonging to the Hizbul Mujahideen group claimed responsibility for the incident. Security agencies also believe that Hizb militants are behind the killings.

The abduction of the policemen from their homes and the killing is the first in the three decades of militancy in the state. Earlier, policemen have been targeted on the road or during their duties.

The killings have triggered panic in the lower ranks of the police department with at least six policemen resigning. Two of them issued video messages dissociating themselves from the force.

“My name is Irshad Ahmad Baba and I was working as a constable in the police.  I have tendered my resignation…,” said one of them in a video being widely circulated on social media here.

Tajalla Hussain Lone, an SPO, said he had resigned from the police department on September 17 and was issuing the video to put to rest any doubts with regard to it.

Police refused to comment on the resignations, saying they would verify the information.

Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo has several times warned local policemen, especially SPOs, to resign from the force, saying that the government is using them.

Today’s incident comes three weeks after militants abducted relatives of policemen from various places in south Kashmir on August 30. The relatives were later released.

At least eight people whose relatives worked in Jammu and Kashmir Police were abducted.

Naikoo had purportedly claimed responsibility for the abductions in a 12-minute video, issuing a three-day deadline for the release of all relatives of militants who were in police custody.

The latest round of killings comes soon after elections to Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies were announced.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Police paid tributes to three policemen who were abducted and killed by militants in Shopian district Friday.

Senior officials from the administration and police, led by Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, S P Pani laid wreaths and paid floral tributes to Constable Nisar Ahmad and special police officers (SPOs) Firdous Ahmed and Kulwant Singh.

“The wreath laying ceremony for three of our colleagues who were martyred today in a barbaric act of terrorism was held at the District Police Lines in Shopian,” a police spokesman said.

No policeman has resigned: MHA

New Delhi, Sep 21 (PTI) The Home Ministry Friday said no policeman has resigned in Jammu and Kashmir following the killing of three police personnel by militants and described such reports as “false propaganda” by “mischievous” elements.

In a statement, the ministry said reports have appeared in a section of the media that some special police officers (SPOs) in Jammu and Kashmir have resigned, but the state police has confirmed that these reports are “untrue and motivated”.

“These reports are based on false propaganda by mischievous elements,” it said.

The Home Ministry said Jammu and Kashmir has a professional and committed police force, which is fully geared up to meet the security challenges, including those related to the forthcoming panchayat and urban body elections.

“There are over 30,000 SPOs and their services are reviewed from time to time. Some mischievous elements are trying to project that those SPOs whose services are not renewed due to administrative reasons, have resigned,” it said.

The ministry said “militants are on the backfoot” in Jammu and Kashmir and 28 militants have been neutralised this year alone in Shopian district, where the Friday incident took place.

“Due to pro-active actions of the state police, militants have been pushed to a corner and are being driven to desperation,” it said.

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