Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday asked security forces not to target or attack families of militants and their houses. Mufti’s direction came days after police and Army personnel raided homes of several militants in south Kashmir’s Shopian district after a former sarpanch of the PDP was killed by militants.
“Militants kill security forces and make them martyrs. Then they enter houses and burn them, as they did recently. But the police or other security forces…we should not do this,” Mufti said while addressing the passing-out parade at the Police Training School in Manigam, in Ganderbal district. She said there should be a difference in the actions of militants and those of security forces. “We believe in the law,” she emphasised. “I should not hear any complaint that after militants have escaped or damaged property or ransacked any house, in a reprisal we did the same…”
According to Mufti, security forces are facing more challenges at every step these days. “Militancy is a challenge but there are many other challenges as well. There was a time when people used to assemble after any incident of atrocity, but now people assemble every now and then to attack, which is a challenge (for security forces).’’ Last week, after the forces ransacked the houses of some active militants in Shopian and Tral areas, militants threatened workers of ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Opposition National Conference with dire consequences if their houses and their families were targeted again.
Riyaz Naikoo, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant leader in south Kashmir, issued one such warning. A video subsequently emerged on social media, showing militants barging into the home of a PDP worker in south Kashmir and asking him to tell the police and the PDP leadership to not target their families again, or they will attack families of police personnel and political workers in retaliation. The militants ostensibly told the PDP worker that police and Army personnel should fight with armed militants, not their families. The police had denied that forces were involved in ransacking militants’ homes.