'We swear by the gun, we'll let him go': Relatives of slain policemen in Shopian recall militants' false assurances
The militants abducted the policemen from their homes in Shopian early on Friday and promised to their families that they will be safely returned to them.
Kapran/Batgund, Shopian: On Friday morning, the loud cries of three mothers pierced the cool air of the twin villages of Kapran and Batgund in the Shopian district of south Kashmir. The three mothers were united in their tragedy after their policemen sons were killed by militants.
The militants abducted the policemen from their homes early on Friday and promised to their family members that they will be safely returned to them. But that did not happen. Instead, their bullet-riddled bodies were found in an orchard in a nearby village.
Hundreds of mourners, both Hindus and Muslims — this belt in south Kashmir has a considerable Rajput population — participated in the last rites of two Muslim cops. Both men and women cried as the two men were taken away for burial.
According to villagers, the abductions were carried out between 6.45 and 7.00 am on Friday morning.
The militants first appeared at the house of Nisar Ahmad Dobi, a constable in the Jammu and Kashmir Police who was posted in Srinagar and had spent four years in the Reasi district of Jammu. He was in the bathroom when his wife, Rukhsana, informed him that two men were looking for him. The militants told him to accompany them.
“I begged them to leave him alone. He was going to announce his resignation on Friday prayers,” Fata Dobi, 75, the mother of Nissar Ahmad, said, as hundreds of people prepared for the funeral prayers of the slain policemen at a nearby school.
“When I insisted that the militants should leave him, they said, ‘we swear by the gun, we will let him go,'” an inconsolable Fata Dobi said. “They locked the main gate of the house and stopped us from following them,” she added.
Pushpa Devi, the mother of Kulwant Singh, a Kashmiri police constable, was in her kitchen when militants entered the house and awakened her son, who was still sleeping.
“Are you in the police? Show us your identity card,” Pushpa Devi recalled militants telling her son. The militants had cordoned the house, as they had done with the houses of the other two policemen.
“When I looked behind the house, I found gunmen standing there. He showed them his identity card and told them he would announce his resignation from the police department at 4 p.m, and was happy running a small cosmetics shop. But they dragged him out of the house. When I went out, they shooed me away and told me that he will be back. Instead, his dead body came,” Pushpa, 72, said as the body of her son lay beside her.
Singh is survived by his wife and two children. His father and wife had gone to Jammu to meet their relatives, and his funeral will take place on Saturday, after they return.
Firdous Ahmad Kuchay, the third policeman who was killed, was posted at a railway station near the village. Initially, militants took his younger brother away. Subsequently, Firdous told them that it was he who worked in the police and not his younger brother, the family members said.
Saida Begum, Firdous' mother, said, “When he came home yesterday, I asked him to leave the police job. I told him that we will beg for a living if need be, but we don’t want you to get killed. What was his crime? If they would have broken or fired at his legs, he would at least have been alive to take care of his innocent children. Who will look after them now?,” she said.
A few days earlier, unknown persons used the public address systems at several mosques to ask local policemen to quit their jobs.
Earlier, militants had abducted eight relatives of policemen, and three cops, but let them off later on the same day. The militants warned the policemen to leave their jobs, they "would have no alternative but to kill them" the next time.
As the news of the killings of policemen spread in the area, at least six personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir police from south Kashmir resigned from the service, and made an announcement to that effect on social media.
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