JEHANGIR ALI | 27 MARCH, 2017
Suspected Militants Grab AK-47 Rifles From Police Post
SRINAGAR: Two police personnel suffered injuries allegedly after resisting suspected militants who decamped with five AK-47 rifles from a police post guarding the paternal home of J&K chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti's uncle, Syed Farooq Andrabi, in south Kashmir.
Police sources and officials said the incident took place at the paternal house of Andrabi, who is the Haj and Auqaf minister in J&K government, situated in Shestergam village of south Kashmir's Dooru at around 10:30 pm on Sunday.
"A group of militants barged into the police post set up outside the residence and asked the cops there to hand over their weaponry. When they resisted, militants opened fire, resulting in injuries to two cops," a senior police officer said, wishing anonymity.
Rattled by the shooting, the remaining unharmed cops, believed to be three in number, ran for cover while the militants managed to escape unscathed from the area along with five AK-47 rifles and some ammunition before disappearing into darkness.
Andrabi, brother-in-law of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, was not present at the house at the time of the incident. Family sources said his parents live in Shestergam while the minister himself lives with his family in Ujru village, some eight kilometres away from the scene of shooting.
The militants didn't harm Andrabi's parents or try to enter the house, sources said. Sources said the condition of the injured cops is out of danger. Police have registered a case and are investigating the matter.
The incident comes at a time when the forces have briefly suspended counter-insurgency operations in south and central Kashmir in the run up to the upcoming Lok Sabha by-polls for Srinagar and Anantnag constituencies scheduled to be held in the second week of April.
Although the rifle-snatching incidents witnessed a sharp rise in the Valley in the aftermath of Hizb commander Burhan Wani's killing last year that sparked a civilian uprising in the region, the trend was arrested soon after the forces took control of the streets and a semblance of normalcy prevailed.
Security experts see the rifle-snatching as the first test for potential youths who want to join militant ranks in the Valley where, due to tighter border control and drastic fall in infiltration levels, insurgents are finding it increasingly difficult to get hold of weapons and ammunition.
According to officials, at least 60 weapons were snatched from government forces in last year, most of them by local youths, with the trend picking up especially after Burhan episode that pushed the Valley into despondency, leaving nearly hundred civilians dead and thousands injured.