Guns Snatched from Police Station Again
SRINAGAR: Suspected militants barged into a police post in the volatile south Kashmir on Tuesday evening and allegedly snatched five rifles from policemen who apparently didn't put up any resistance.
Police said the incident took place at a police post guarding the District Court Complex in Shopian, a day after five policemen and two bank employees were killed in a deadly attack by militants in the adjoining Kulgam district.
Officials said a group of heavily armed militants barged into the police post at around 9:30 pm and asked the cops deployed there to hand over their weapons, warning them to prepare for death in case they were to put up any kind of resistance.
"The cops handed over their weapons without any fight. Not a single bullet was fired. We have filed a case and the policemen involved in the incident have been put under suspension pending an inquiry that will determine the circumstances of the incident," a senior police officer said, wishing anonymity.
Police sources the cops deployed at the post were taken by surprise, "The killing of five policemen in Kulgam who had also refused to hand over their weapons, resulting in their death, might also have played on the back of their minds," sources said.
Weapon-snatching from government forces is the first step for potential recruits to join militant groups in Kashmir who face acute shortage of arms and ammunition as more and more youths are joining militants and the supply of guns from across the border has dried up significantly.
The trend gained currency especially after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last year in an encounter following which at least 80 youths, mostly from south Kashmir districts, have joined different militant groups operating in the Valley.
According to official data, since Burhan Wani's killing, nearly 100 weapons including AK-47, INSAS, Carbine, SLR, .303 rifles, have been snatched from forces personnel, prompting the J&K police to issue an advisory to its forces in March this year.
Five Insas rifles were looted by militants after killing five policemen and two bank officials in Kulgam yesterday. Earlier, in March, four rifles were snatched from the cops deployed at the ancestral home of J&K minister Syed Farooq Andrabi.
"All of these weapons land in the hands of new recruits of militancy whose numbers are growing with every passing day. It is a disturbing situation which can spell doom for the situation in Kashmir as more youths are joining militants. It is not a good development," the officer said.
Meanwhile, a group of suspected militants barged into Elaquai Dehati Bank in Kulgam district in broad daylight on Tuesday and looted Rs 65,000 from the bank. Officials said the militants managed to escape from the area by the time forces arrived there.