OVER THE last three weeks, militants in J&K have barged into the houses of at least five police officers in south and central Kashmir, threatened their family members and damaged household items before delivering this chilling message: quit your jobs or face the consequences.
The growing number of such attacks has left several officers perturbed with many, especially those living in south Kashmir, advising their family members to stay alert and take precautions.
“For us, this new trend is a matter of concern. I have alerted my parents to not open the door once it is dark. I have also given them some important telephone numbers to contact, in case there is a problem,’’ an officer posted in north Kashmir told The Indian Express.
On Tuesday evening, a group of militants barged into the house of a senior officer at Khudwani in south Kashmir and damaged household items. The militants also fired a few shots inside the compound before fleeing. The officer is currently posted as Additional Superintendent of Police in north Kashmir’s Bandipore district.
This incident comes a day after unidentified militants targeted the houses of two assistant sub-inspectors in Diaroo village, 7 km from Shopian town. Officials said that both policemen — Riyaz Ahmad Rather and Dilber Ahmad Rather — were not present in their homes at the time of these incidents.
” The militants came to our house and started searching for my father. I told them my father was not in the house. To buy the time, so that my family members could alert my father, I took them to a neighbouring place. While we were on the move, the militants went inside the house of another officer, Dilber Ahmad Rather, and tried to set fire to a vehicle parked in the compound. The militants also fired in the direction of the house and broke the window panes before leaving,’’ said the 16-year-old son of Riyaz Ahmad.
On March 25, the militants ransacked the house of an officer in Chadoora and set ablaze his car that was parked there. Then, they took away his son and nephew, setting them free later, set them free. The officer is currently posted at the Baramulla district jail.
On March 8, at least 10 gun-wielding militants vandalised the home of a senior officer in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. The militants also damaged electronic appliances and broke the window panes at the family residence of the DySP-rank officer currently posted in Srinagar.
When contacted, DIG (South Kashmir), S P Pani, said, “The police have acted and started investigations. This will not lost long.’’
Last year, during the unrest in the Valley, posters had surfaced against some police officers in their home localities with messages asking them to stop “troubling” those taking part in or spearheading the protests.
In December, Hizbul Mujahideen militant Zakir Rashid Bhat had warned family members of policemen in a video message that they would be attacked if police “continue to harass” relatives of militants.
”You (police) have committed a big mistake by harassing our families, by involving our families… If you touch our families, we will not spare your families. You think your families are in Jammu so they are safe. Even if your families are in Kanyakumari, we have the capacity to kill them there,” Bhat warned in the message.