Futlipora (Budgam): On 31 November last year, security forces zeroed in on the village of Futlipora minutes after four militants entered into a house for hiding. After long gun battle, which started in the evening and continued till the next day afternoon, three militants were killed while one managed to escape. But, Mohammad Lateef Bhat, a resident of the same village, had decided to continue in the state police. On Sunday, however, he suddenly posted a video on his Facebook account announcing his resignation. His announcement came two days after militants shot at and injured a special police officer (SPO) in Chrawani area of Budgam in the Kashmir valley.
In Kashmir, at least 10 SPOs have reportedly resigned so far in the past two days after militants critically injured the SPO in Charwani and killed an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) on Sunday.
Futlipora area in central Kashmir has not seen any encounters after the one in November 2017. None from the area is a militant, but still Lateef and four other SPOs in this village resigned fearing that they could be killed or attacked by the militants. Their resignations mark a new trend in Kashmir region with the movement of militants even being noticed in central Kashmir, which was being considered as a peaceful area so far contrary to southern part of Kashmir, where encounters are frequent as youth in large numbers join militancy.
A few kilometres away from Lateef’s home, another SPO, Hilal Ahmad Dar, of Zinpanchal area of Budgam, also announced his resignation on Facebook. “From now onwards, I have no relation with police, neither do I want to work in police,” he says in the video.
The police officials at Charar-i-Sharief police station confirmed that the policemen worked there and resigned. Lateef had come to join police in December 2016 after he took part in a race. He qualified in the test held at the district police lines (DPL) in Budgam and he was appointed as SPO.
But now he says, “As the militants have started targeting policemen, I have resigned. I fear for my life. One of my colleagues was shot at Charwani near the area where my uncle lives.”
Another SPO of Futlipora area, Maiser Ahmad Laway, says he has also resigned his job. Laway was recruited to the state police the same time Lateef joined the police force. “If militants can target anyone in Charwani area, why can’t they do it here?’’ he asked.
Both Lateef and Maiser resigned even though they had not taken part in any anti-militancy operations. While Lateef said he his was a cleaning job at the Charar-i-Sharief police station, Maiser said that he was posted for “guard duty” at Yusmarg dam.
“A man had drowned in the dam following which I was posted there,” he said.
Deputy inspector general of police (DIG), Vidhi Kumar Birdi, said, “One of our SPOs was wounded after he was shot at in the leg. We are investigating the case.” He also added that the “police is inquiring into the videos which have surfaced over the resignations of policemen.”
Some of the SPOs said on condition of anonymity that they have been working only for “a few days in a week at the police stations or on other duties at the DPLs.” Most of them are working on a salary of about Rs 6,000 per month. Some said that they have not been issued the weapons as well.
Local residents of Futlipora said that they have not “come across any presence of militants” since the encounter in November 2017. In the last year’s encounter, Assadullah Bhat, said, “Four militants entered into the house of my brother and the cordon started immediately after they sat in a room. The encounter continued for the whole night before the militants were killed next day in the afternoon. Three militants were killed, while one managed to flee the spot breaching the cordon.” He added, “As of now, none of the boys from the village is a militant.”
“Last year, it appeared that the forces were running after the militants from some villages, before they zeroed in on our houses and killed them.”
After the resignations of cops in the village, local residents said that the forces have launched a search in the area. Shiraz Ahmad Bhat, whose brother Firdous Maqbool Bhat also resigned as SPO, said, “Yesterday the army came and searched the houses. They also noted the number of people who are living in a house.”
Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.
Updated Date: Oct 29, 2018 22:06:02 IST