In yet another attack, militants Sunday snatched four rifles from policemen guarding the house of a senior PDP leader in south Kashmir. This is the third incident of weapon snatching by militants this month. On Sunday evening, militants barged into the house of PDP’s district president, Advocate Javid Ahmad Sheikh, at Dialgam village in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and decamped with four assault rifles.
Police sources said that militants fired several rounds in the air to create panic and then barged into Sheikh’s house, where they over-powered the policemen guarding him. The militants took away the rifles of the policemen but didn’t hurt them.
On September 8, militants had barged into the guardroom of National Conference leader Abdul Rashid Khanday in Begom village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam and snatched four rifles. Police later suspended four officials for “cowardice and dereliction of duty”.
A week before that, militants had taken away four rifles from PDP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Nazir Laway’s house in Kulgam. During recent protests, a large crowd had marched towards Laway’s house and set the outhouse — that housed the policemen guarding Laway and his house —on fire. While policemen deployed to protect Laway ran away, the militants present in the crowd took away their rifles. Police later arrested four policemen who had run away after seeing the protesters attacking the leader’s house.
Rifle snatching incidents have increased since the massive protests in Kashmir after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. The incidents assume significance in wake of the reports that several youth from south Kashmir have joined militant ranks and are in need of weapons.