Another J&K policeman decamps with AK-47 rifle

In third such incident in the last year, a Jammu and Kashmir policeman has deserted with an AK-47 rifle from a police station in Srinagar and is believed to have joined militant ranks.

Sources said Riyaz Ahmad (belt no 175F) of Khansahib area in central Kashmir’s district Budgam, a follower, fled from Police Station Rainawari, along with AK-47 rifle and a magazine of a colleague on Friday evening.

A police official, while confirming the incident, said an FIR has been registered and a departmental inquiry has been launched.

He said security forces have launched a hunt to nab Riyaz as the police suspect he might have joined militant ranks.

Sources told Deccan Herald that the incident has sent the Jammu and Kashmir police top brass on tenterhooks as it is the third incident of cops deserting along with rifles. In the past, two policemen who deserted in similar circumstances joined militants.

Last month, constable Shakoor Ahmed ran away with four AK-47 rifles of fellow constables from the SDPO office in south Kashmir’s Bijbehera area where he was posted. However, police have recovered two of the rifles that he had fled with while two are still with him and is still at large.

In March last year, Naseer Ahmad Pandith, who was on guard duty at the residence of the then R&B Minister, Altaf Bukhari, in Srinagar, decamped with two AK-47 rifles and joined Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit. He is one of the most-wanted militants now.

To check the incidents of decamping of service weapons, Jammu and Kashmir Police had last month asked its personnel not to retain their weapons while going on leave and instead deposit them in the post or the nearest police station concerned.

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