Militants snatch five SLR rifles from police

Militants snatch five SLR rifles from police

Militants snatched five assault rifles from Jammu and Kashmir police guards posted at southern Shopian district court complex on Tuesday night.

Sources said that a group of militants attacked police post in District Court complex around 9.15 pm and decamped with five self-loading rifles (SLRs). The two police guards, who were on duty, were overpowered by the militants and tied with a rope inside a room, they said

Reports said soon after the incident senior police, army and paramilitary officers reached the spot and a manhunt was launched in the area to nab the militants responsible for weapon snatching.

The policemen were suspended for dereliction of duty as they offered no resistance when the militants looted their weapons, sources said.

This was the second major strike after Monday’s killing of five policemen and two security guards and looting of five rifles from a Jammu and Kashmir Bank van in neighbouring Kulgam district.

In March, militants had snatched four assault rifles from policemen guarding the residence of a minister.

There had been a spurt in the incidents of weapon-snatching by militants in the Valley since last July.

According to official figures, at least 62 rifles, six pistols and 182 magazines were looted by militants and unruly mobs from security personnel in Kashmir last year.

“Due to the sudden rise in local recruitment of militants, there is a shortage of weapons in terror outfits and incidents of weapon snatching are taking place. Such incidents are also planned with a view of embarrassing the security personnel,” a senior police officer told DH.

Though isolated incidents of weapon snatching were happening in the Valley for the last three years, it saw a spurt after the unrest broke out in the wake of killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on July 8 last year.

Zakir Bhat, Burhan’s close associate, in a video message in December last year said that several youth have snatched weapons from security forces and have joined the Hizbul ranks.

A conglomerate of four districts — Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag — which has been the epicentre of unrests and militant activities, is believed to have accounted for the disappearance of nearly 100 youth in the past three months, sources said.

“These youth are desperate for weapons as it is a loyalty test for them. The militant handlers won’t allow anyone to be part of their groups until he either snatches a weapon or kills policemen, and then all the doors leading to normal life get closed,” they said.

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