An Inspector and two constables of J&K Police were shot dead and a BJP worker was abducted and murdered by militants in four separate incidents Wednesday in the Valley where violence marred Eid celebrations.
Two other policemen were targeted late in the evening — in one case, the policeman was shot at but escaped unhurt while in the other, militants barged into the home of a policeman who was not in.
Inspector Mohammad Ashraf Dar died after he was shot at point-blank range inside his house in Larve village of Pulwama in south Kashmir in the evening. Posted at the district police lines in Budgam, Dar had come home for Eid.
In Kulgam, constable Fayaz Ahmad Shah was shot dead as he emerged from the Eidgah after offering Eid prayers. The 34-year-old is survived by his wife and two daughters, one a five-year-old and the other who is just two.
A police spokesman said: “In Kulgam this morning, terrorists fired at constable Fayaz Ahmad Shah who was on leave and had gone to offer Eid prayers. He died on the spot. He was a resident of Zazripora, Kulgam.”
Police sources said Shah, a Special Police Officer (SPO), had become a constable recently and was undergoing training at the Police Training School in Ganderbal. He too was home for Eid.
SPOs promoted as constables are being targeted by militants. Police sources said they have cross-border intercepts in which militants are being told to target SPOs who are being promoted for their roles in counter-insurgency operations.
Hours after the Kulgam incident, militants targeted another policeman in Pulwama. Constable Mohammad Yaqoob Shah was fired at from close range outside his home at Louswani village. He died of his injuries in hospital.
Police said a preliminary investigation into the killing of Yaqoob Shah suggested that the Hizbul Mujahideen was behind the killing. “Initial investigation has established complicity of proscribed terror outfit HM in this crime. Police have started investigations and the culprits involved in the gruesome crime shall soon be brought before the law,” police said.
Police have issued an advisory to their personnel from south Kashmir, asking them to avoid visiting their homes for the time being and take extreme precaution while on leave.
On Tuesday night, suspected militants abducted a BJP worker, Shabir Ahmad Bhat, from his village of Rakh-e-Litter in Pulwama. His bullet-riddled body was found Wednesday morning.
Police sources said Bhat was a protected person and had personal security officers (PSOs) but he had gone to his village without them.
BJP president Amit Shah condemned the killing. “Anguished to learn about the killing of BJP karyakarta, Shabir Ahmad Bhat by terrorists in Pulwama (J&K). This act of cowardice is highly condemnable. Extremists cannot stop the youth of Kashmir from choosing a better future for themselves. This cycle of violence won’t last long,” he said on Twitter.
The sacrifice of our @BJP4JnK karyakartas will not go in vain. Entire BJP stands firmly with Shabir Ahmad Bhat’s family in this hour of grief. My deepest condolences. May god give his family the strength to bear this tragic loss.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) August 22, 2018
On Tuesday, the Centre named a new Governor for J&K — Satya Pal Malik replaced N N Vohra.