Killing of Special Police Officer, wife and daughter in Kashmir reminiscent of situation in 2018
In 2018, dozens of Special Police Officers in the region had taken to social media platforms to announce their resignations after being targeted by militants
A narrow road branching off from the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in south Kashmir's Awantipora area has been witnessing an unusual movement of private and police vehicles since the morning. A line of poplar and pine trees run along either side of the 3 km long stretch leading to Hariparigam village.
A continuous moan of despair is rising from people gathered in front of a single storied house located near a paddy field in the village. Inside the house, the uncluttered rooms are filled with wailing mourners.
On Sunday night, at around 10.30 pm, the family of Fayaz Ahmad, a Special Police Officer (SPO), heard a loud knock on the front gate. As his wife Raja opened the door, she found two armed men outside who asked for her husband.
Soon, Ahmad emerged out of the house, only to be shot by the armed men.
"Raja and their 22-year-old daughter Rafia tried to rescue him by throwing themselves on him, but they too were pumped full of lead,” said a local resident.
The neighbours rushed to the site where they found the surviving family members – Ruqaya, Ahmad's daughter-in-law, and her 8-month-old daughter – shrieking.
"When we reached the house, they were lying in a pool of blood. There were large blood splotches everywhere," said the locals.
A middle-aged man, who declined to be identified, said that Ahmad had died on the spot and he, along with some other villagers, had shifted Raja and Rafia to a nearby health facility.
"A few minutes later, Raja succumbed to her injuries while Rafia fought for her life the entire night before passing away in the early hours of Monday," he added, his lips quivering.
A relative of Ahmad said that it was unclear why he was killed. "The family is left with only three members now. We are drowned in grief and we seek justice," he said.
Many villagers were hesitant to speak to the media. "Nobody wants to answer even simple questions," said a local reporter.
The killings have sent shock waves across the Valley. The people in the region were left dumfounded with pain and sorrow palpable on their faces.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar who visited Ahmad’s family, told the media that there was movement of Jaish-e-Mohammed militants and it seemed that that two foreign militants of the outfit had carried out the attack.
Over the past few weeks, there has been a sudden spurt in militancy-related incidents, with at least six civilians being killed since June 12 in different attacks across the Valley. Attacks on local policemen have also shot up.
Besides Ahmad, four policemen including Inspector Pervaiz Ahamd Dar have been killed in three attacks.
It may be recalled that in 2018, dozens of SPOs had taken to social media platforms to announce their resignations after being targeted by militants.
In August 2018, at least 11 relatives of six police personnel were abducted by militants in southern districts of Kashmir, though they were later let off unharmed.
"The security situation in the Valley is going downhill. Yesterday's attack serves as a grim reminder of 2018," said a political observer.
Published: 28 Jun 2021, 8:03 PM