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Abducted cops, kin released with warning: ‘Beware! We can reach to your families, and know only one punishment’

Srinagar, Aug 31: Militants Friday released three abducted cops besides kin of at least eight other policemen, whom they had taken captive in an unprecedented reaction to the alleged harassment of their families by the government forces.

Sons, brothers, and, even, a nephew of several low and middle-rung policemen had been abducted by the militants since Wednesday evening, sending the entire police establishment in a tizzy.

The abductions came shortly after the police detained the father of Hizbul Mujahideen’s Operational Commander Riyaz Naikoo, harassed the families of two LeT militants, and allegedly set their houses ablaze.

Militants, on Wednesday evening, abducted Asif Ahmad, an undergraduate son of policeman Rafiq Ahmad Rather, from his home at Pinglish, Tral.

Belonging to districts Kulgam, Shopian, and Pulwama, the abducted people returned homes on their own even as the police claimed “launching search operations to trace them”.

Those released by militants include Irfan Ahmad Dar son of Sub-Inspector; Gulzar Ahmad Dar of Kangan, Pulwama, a Sub-Inspector of police; Javeed Ahmad Dar (SPO at DPL Pulwama); Constable Shabir Ahmad Zargar of Kangan Pulwama; Adnan Ashraf Shah of Shopian (nephew of a DSP); Faizan Bashir Makroo of Kharpora Arwani, whose two uncles are in police; Zubair Ahmad Bhat of Arwani whose two brothers are working in police; Ghulam Mohammad Dar of Kangan Pulwama, whose two sons are in police; Arif Hussain Shanker of Arwani whose brother is working in police department;  Asif Rafiq son of a policeman, Nasir Ahmad, also son of a policeman and Yasir Arfat Bhat son of a Sub-Inspector of Wathoo Shopian.

On Friday, Superintendent of Police, Awantipora, Zahid Malik, confirmed that they had released senior Naikoo.

“We had not arrested him. We had just called him for questioning,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.

Asked about the two abductions that took place in his jurisdiction, he said, “Search operations were on.”

“We are also looking for some other angles in these incidents. Militants are involved in it, but we will overcome the challenge,” he said.

Later, Hizb Commander, Riyaz Naikoo, in an audio message that went viral on social media on Friday evening, explained the reason for the abductions, while giving a stern warning to the policemen.

“Our target was never your (policemen’s) families but you have forced us to take this step. We are letting them go this time but we want you to release all our family members within three days. If you do not, we will not spare anyone. You know we can’t keep your family members captive and that, we only know one punishment,” he warned in an over 11-minute-audio message.

Naikoo added: “Kashmir police, unfortunately, has become the front-line of this war. But now, we won’t let you become our weakness. Our war is with anyone who comes in our way, be it Abdul Rahman or Ram Kishan.”

He added that the cops’ kin was abducted to make policemen realise how it feels when they harass the families of the militants.

“What must be a mother feeling when you take away her son.”

“We also abducted your family members to let you know that we are capable to reach to them as well,” he said.

“You destroy our brothers’ careers, slap them with PSAs, and then get money and promotions. You use the same money for your kids’ education. How fair is that?”

He asked the policemen to work “like the police used to work in ‘90s and no one will hurt u.”

“We know when you are at your homes you keep your pyjamas above your ankles and skull-caps on your heads. But when you are in the police stations, you act like Hitlers,” he ridiculed the cops.

“Work silently. Don’t come in our way. And beware! We may as well entirely ban police employment forcing all of you to resign and killing whosoever doesn’t,” he said.

The Kashmir Monitor tried to contact DGP J&K, SP Vaid, who refused to talk on the matter.

Similar response was received from ADGP, Law and Order, Munir Khan.