JEHANGIR ALI | 25 SEPTEMBER, 2018
Police Murders Trigger ‘Resignations’ in Kashmir
SPOs take the lead
SRINAGAR: The abduction and killing of three policemen in Shopian last week has triggered a fresh spree of “resignations” by Jammu and Kashmir police Special Police Officers (SPOs) in south Kashmir, even as mobile internet remains suspended in the volatile region.
In the latest incident, an SPO from Kulgam uploaded a video on Facebook on Sunday announcing that she was tendering her resignation from the job.
In the 11-second video, Rafeeqa Akhter of Bongam village in Kulgam says she has been working as an SPO for the past 15 years. “I am resigning from the job out of my own choice and without any fear,” she says in the video.
Ever since the abduction and killing of two SPOs and a policeman by militants in Shopian on September 21, many SPOs have announced their resignation on Facebook. In some cases the local heads of community mosques have read out resignation letters by SPOs and sought an apology from the public.
In some cases the SPOs have forwarded their resignations along with apologies to imams of local mosques which were read on last Friday in some villages of Tral in Pulwama districts.
“I am Nawaz Ahmad Lone from Kulgam. I was working as an SPO but I am now resigning of my own free will,” one of the SPOs who have resigned said in a video uploaded on Facebook.
The latest spree of resignations comes after the killings and a fresh warning by militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen to SPOs asking them to quit their jobs or be ready for the worst.
“Upload your resignations on the internet or be ready for the consequences,” was the latest threat issued by Hizb.
The threats are mainly directed at the SPOs which form a force of around 30,000 personnel in the J&K police and are used in counterinsurgency operations.
Although both the J&K police and the union home ministry have termed the threats as “propaganda” and “baseless” there is a sense of concern and fear within the police force.
“This is mere propaganda, a kind of psychological war being played by the militants,” said a senior police official from south Kashmir.
These fresh threats come less than a month after militants abducted 11 relatives of policemen from different south Kashmir villages in what was seen as revenge abductions by the rebels against the alleged harassment of their family members by J&K police.
Meanwhile, mobile internet remains suspended in south Kashmir for third consecutive day. Although the officials have not given any specific reason for the suspension, it is being seen as an attempt to prevent the “resignation spree” from gaining traction.
(Cover photo BASIT ZARGAR: the funeral of three policemen killed recently by militants in Shopian, Kashmir.)