Srinagar: 2018 has been the deadliest year for the Jammu and Kashmir police who have lost 41 cops in militant attacks. Highest in the past 15 years. In 2017, 31 policemen fell to bullets.
Militants also looted 28 weapons from the police, official figures say.
According to figures nine of the killed were special police officers and the rest were regular policemen.
“The highest number of 23 policemen was killed in the first half of 2018. Even during the Ramadhan ceasefire, when forces followed didn’t launch any operation against militants from May 16 to June 17, five policemen were killed,” figures reveal.
The month of September saw a spike in the kidnapping of special police officers (SPOs), triggering panic among policemen. The abductions prompted the police force to ask its men to avoid visiting their homes in southern Kashmir without first informing the respective police stations.
The spike in militant attacks kept the police top brass on toes and Riyaz Naikoo, Hizbul Mujahideen commander, orchestrated an abduction spree after his father was detained by forces.
The then DGP of Police SP Vaid later ordered release of Naikoo’s father that secured the safe release of all the abducted people, majorly relatives of policemen.
Later in an interview to a India based news organisation, Vaid said that he was shunted from DGP post because of his handling the abduction of people and was seen to have gone soft.
Figures reveal militants made 25 attempts to snatch weapons this year, and succeeded in decamping with 28 service rifles from policemen and the majority of weapon snatching incidents took place in restive southern districts.
In Srinagar, militants made two major bids, including the one that took place at the official residence of former PDP legislator Aijaz Mir at Jawhar Nagar, where his SPO decamped with seven rifles and the lawmaker’s licensed pistol.
“70 weapons were looted by militants that include 17 AK-47 rifles and over 7000 rounds of ammunition. The looted weapons also include 27 SLR rifles, 14 INSAS rifles, six pistols, a .303 rifle, a carbine, three UBGL throwers and a Taser gun,” Police figures reveal that since 2016.
The gun snatching forced the police to set a new standard operating procedure, which included banning the use of mobile phones while on duty and using chains to tie the weapons with the waist of the policemen.
Picture used for representative purposes only