Now, militants target cops in Valley

Now, militants target cops in Valley

 In a change of tactics, militants in Kashmir now target policemen in other parts of the Valley if their associates get trapped in cordon and search operations.

On June 16, when security forces killed Lashkar-e-Toiba's (LeT) top commander Junaid Mattoo and his associates at Arwani village in Anantnag district, the LeT retaliated the same evening by attacking a police jeep and killing station house officer Feroz Dar and five of his men in Achabal area of the same district.

The militants not only killed the officers but also disfigured their bodies, which is a new phenomenon in the nearly three-decade-old militancy in the Valley.

On June 22, when three LeT militants were killed in an encounter in Pulwama district, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohammad Ayoub Pandith was lynched by a mob in Nowhatta area of Srinagar the same night.

“Militants have been given instructions by their handlers to carry out deadly reprisal attacks on the police during or after any encounter in which ultras are killed,” a source revealed.

“Due to the successful operations carried out by the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the militants are desperate to instil fear among the policemen, like the early 1990s,” the source added.

At least 17 policemen have been killed by militants this year, the highest in two decades.

“We are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Whenever there is an encounter, we have to kill the militants, who are locals most of the time. During stone-pelting incidents, we have to use force against our own people. It has built an anti-police narrative in Kashmir, and we and our families are increasingly becoming soft targets for militants,” an SP-level officer, seeking anonymity, told DH.

“The politicians are clever. They make us scapegoats... they never shy to praise militants and stone pelters. If tough measures aren’t taken immediately, the police may become defunct like in the 1990s,” he warned.

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