A female special police officer (SPO) was shot dead by militants outside her home in south Kashmir's volatile Shopian district on Saturday.
Police said SPO Khushboo Jan was fired upon at close range at around 2.40 pm at Vehil village, about 65 kilometres south of Srinagar. “She sustained critical injuries and was evacuated to a hospital where she succumbed. We condemn this gruesome terror act and stand by her family at this critical juncture,” a statement from the police said
The former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti condemned the killing. Omar in his condolence message wrote on Twitter, “I condemn this act of terror & extend my condolences to her family & all her J&K police colleagues.”
“I strongly condemn this brutal act of terror. My condolences to the family. This vicious cycle of death and destruction seems to have no end,” Mufti said on Twitter.
SPOs are recruited by the police on a fixed monthly remuneration of Rs 12000. The wages of SPOs are given by the state government and reimbursed by the Centre under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme. The police maintain SPOs are an important element in their strategy to combat militancy.
The 30,000 men and women SPOs - bolstering a police force with duties ranging from fighting militancy to maintaining law and order and stretched at the strength of 90,000 – have been targeted specifically by militants in the last few years.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police Act says an SPO may be appointed “when it shall appear that any unlawful assembly or riot or disturbance of peace has taken place or may be reasonably apprehended and that the police force ordinarily employed for preserving the peace is not sufficient….”
It was in 1996, during the reign of the Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference, that the government first appointed SPOs to deal with militancy.