IN THE first such action in a decade, the J&K government has dismissed 10 policemen who, it believes, didn’t show any resistance when militants snatched their service weapons during the recent unrest. It is in the process of finalising action against other policemen facing the same charge. Around 28 weapons have been snatched by militants at eight places in south Kashmir, in attacks on minority pickets, isolated posts or personnel providing security to politicians. These include rifles such as carbines, AK-47s, INSAS, SLRs and 303.
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Special Director General of Police, Law and Order, S P Vaid told The Indian Express that policemen found “negligent” had been dismissed. “Some policemen were also arrested, and a fresh mechanism is in place to prevent incidents of weapon snatching in the future,” he said.
Officials said that it had been found that at places where the policemen put up resistance, the militants fled without taking the weapons. The policemen who have been dismissed reportedly did not put up any resistance or make any attempt to save their weapons.
The government had registered cases and ordered separate inquiries into all the attempts at weapon-snatching. Sources said almost all the inquiries are complete, and reports are with top officials. “Wherever cops showed some resistance, a single shot prevented weapon snatching,” said a senior police officer. “It was also found that not all the men posted at minority pickets or other places from where weapons were snatched were on duty when the militants attacked.”
In the first week of October, militants had snatched two rifles from a minority police post in Tumlihal Pulwama. On October 3, in another attempt, armed militants had snatched five rifles from a minority police post in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
On October 17, militants had stormed a TV transmission tower at Dooru in Anantnag, fleeing with five rifles from policemen guarding the station.
In Pulwama, however, militants who attacked a minority picket at Sirnoo village were forced back. Alert policemen had thwarted a similar attempt by militants at Jamnagri in Shopian, losing one man in the process while another had suffered injuries.
Earlier, in September, militants had been successful in snatching weapons thrice in south Kashmir, all from houses of politicians. They had taken away nine rifles in all.
Recently, Corps Commander, 15 Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua had expressed concern over the incidents of weapon- snatching. “There are some small pickets of the police where they are not able to take care of the situation if militants come. It is a cause for concern and it is being addressed jointly with police,” he had said.