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Killings followed by cops’ ‘resignations’; Police denies, Centre says ‘propaganda’

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Sep 21: Soon after three policemen were abducted and killed in south Kashmir just days after Hizbul Mujahideen posted a video with a ‘resign or get killed’ threat, at least seven cops posted their resignation videos.
Earlier on Friday, three Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a police constable were kidnapped from their houses in Shopian. Later, bullet-ridden bodies of three policemen were recovered from an orchard in Shopian.
The killings triggered panic in the lower ranks of the police department and at least six cops issued video messages dissociating themselves from the police force, reports said.
“My name is Irshad Ahmad Baba and I was working as a constable in the police. I have rendered my resignation…,” said one of them in a video being widely circulated on social media in Srinagar.
Tajalla Hussain Lone, another SPO, said he had resigned from the police department on September 17 and was issuing the video to put to rest any doubts that he had done so.
“My name is Nawaz Ahmad Lone, resident of Kulgam. I was working as an SPO, I am resigning of my own free will, not because of any compulsion,” a report quoted a cop as saying in the video.
Another cop said, “My name is Shabir Ahmad Thokar, son of Ghulam Mohammad Thokar. I was working as an SPO for last eight years. Through this video l want tell everybody that from today I have no relation with police department”.
J&K police, however, claimed that no policeman had resigned.
A spokesman of the police said that the news about the resigning of SPOs in J&K is baseless. “No SPO, or policeman has resigned, these are just rumors,” he said.
The Home Ministry too reacted to the resignations calling such reports a “false propaganda” by “mischievous” elements.
In a statement, the ministry said reports have appeared in a section of the media that some special police officers (SPOs) in Jammu and Kashmir have resigned, but the state police has confirmed that these reports are “untrue and motivated”.
“These reports are based on false propaganda by mischievous elements,” it said.
The Home Ministry said Jammu and Kashmir has a “professional and committed” police force, which is fully geared up to meet the security challenges, including those related to the forthcoming panchayat and urban body elections.
“There are over 30,000 SPOs and their services are reviewed from time to time. Some mischievous elements are trying to project that those SPOs whose services are not renewed due to administrative reasons, have resigned,” it said.
The ministry said militants are on the “back foot” in Jammu and Kashmir and 28 militants have been neutralised this year alone in Shopian district, where the Friday incident took place.
“Due to pro-active actions of the state police, militants have been pushed to a corner and are being driven to desperation,” it said.
Militant group Hizbul Mujahideen on Tuesday posted a video threatening the government forces, especially SPOs, in the state to either resign in four days or get ready to be killed. The video has gone viral on social media in Jammu and Kashmir.
The video asked people to “quit their jobs and upload evidence of their resignation on the internet.”
The outfit also threatened to kill the family members of those who “stay back” at work.
In April, Over a dozen Special Police Officers (SPOs) announced their resignation in south Kashmir’s Tral. The resignations came after a Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander gave a week’s time to the SPOs to announce their resignation.
After the continuous killings of policemen, JK police also reasserted an advisory asking their men not to visit their homes for more than two to three hours and also inform local police stations about their visit.
So far this year, around 35 Jammu Kashmir policemen were targeted and killed in encounters when they visited their homes or native villages.
On August 23, militants killed three policemen, including an inspector across southern Kashmir, when they were visited their homes.


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5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.

The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.

The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.

 

The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.

“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.

A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.

“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.

A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”

Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.

A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.

 

Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation

Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.

In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.

Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.

The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.

Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.

Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.

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Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today

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Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.

With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.

“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.

 

He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.

On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.

Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.

Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.

Jammu city recorded 5.3  degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.

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Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.

Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.

The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.

 

A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.

Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.

This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.

Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.

In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.

A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.

“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.

The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.

Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.

A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.

He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.

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