Jammu and Kashmir: Investigations by the Jammu and Kashmir police have revealed that a number of personnel deployed on duty with mainstream politicians, connived with militants to give up their weapons during the current unrest in the valley.
Over the last one month, more than six incidents have been reported during which militants managed to get away with the service rifles of on-duty personnel.
Superintendent of Police (SP), Kulgam, Shridhar Patil, said, "Some of the police personnel who were required to offer protection were in fact found to be negligent in their duties. We have registered cases of connivance with militants against our personnel and they have been dismissed from the service."
The revelations have come at a time when militants are facing a shortage of weapons, and some of the surrendered militants including those who "infiltrated" militant ranks to pass on information, have switched sides, and fought against the police.
The findings surfaced during the investigation of a recent incident during which militants managed to get away the weapons from the police personnel deployed on security duty at the residence of ruling People's Democratic Party’s Rajya Sabha member, Nazir Ahmad Laway. Over 20,000 people protested outside his house during which four of his personal security officers (PSOs) gave their arms to militants. Laway, who is under the Z protection security category, was not at his home but the police failed to protect his brother, sister-in-law and their child and fled from the place.
The police dismissed the four personnel including a head constable from service after a case of cowardice and negligence of duty was registered against them at the Kulgam police station. They have been charged conniving with the militants as well.
However, Laway said that it would have been "difficult for the PSOs to carry out their duty in the face of the protest by over 20,000 people".
These incidents have occurred in areas in South Kashmir including Kulgam and Anantnag, which witnessed the worst protests in the current uprising. In areas of Bijbehara and Noorabad in the Southern part of Kashmir, people hit the streets in large numbers, and burnt police stations during their "pro-freedom" protests. The investigations in some of these incidents revealed that the on-duty "PSOs didn’t perform their duties satisfactorily".
Following the increase in such incidents, the J&K police issued orders asking its on-duty personnel to deposit their weapons with their seniors before proceeding for leave. According to police officials, police security has also been withdrawn from some of the habitations of the minority communities in South Kashmir, following an increase in militancy-related incidents and people-led attacks on the police.
A police official said that the police guards were withdrawn from the habitations of the Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs at Noorpur and Medoora in Awantipora. "There were two police parties of five personnel each, which were withdrawn from the place," added a police official.
In similar incidents, On 3 October, the J&K police dismissed five personnel after militants managed to take away their weapons from a minority post of Dogra-speaking Kashmiris in Damhal Hanji Pora. In the same area, a case of connivance with militants was registered against the personnel who were deployed on guard duty of a National Conference (NC) activist. The militants managed to decamp with the service rifles of the on-duty personnel. On 8 September, militants barged into the guardroom of NC leader, Abdul Rashid Khanday, at Begom village of Kulgam district and snatched four rifles. Over a week later on 19 September, militants snatched four more rifles from policemen guarding the house of district president of PDP in Anantag.