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KashmirRifle snatching on rise, new militants in need of arms

Rifle snatching on rise, new militants in need of arms


NL Correspondent

SRINAGAR: The security agencies in are worried over growing number of rifle snatching amid ongoing unrest in the Valley with newly joined militants taking advantage of the prevailing situation.

Rifle snatching incidents have increased since the unrest in Kashmir after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. The incidents assume significance in wake of the reports that around 100 youth from Kashmir have joined militant ranks during the last three months and are in need of weapons to carry out attacks amid unrest.

“The trend of snatching rifles from cops is worrisome,” a senior police official said. “Militants are taking advantage of the unrest and snatching rifles from the cops,” the official said.

During the last three months, many incidents of snatch riles have taken places in the Valley. Recently, a former lawmaker's security guard was robbed of a Kalashnikov by militants in south Kashmir.

According to police sources, the militants barged into the residence of Abdul Rehman Tukroo, a CPI leader, in Shopian district and snatched an AK-47 assault rifle from his personal security officer.

Police has identified the prime accused as Wasim Khanday, who is in his twenties.

“The prime accused is a relative of Tukroo and he has been on our radar for quite some time. We have filed a case against him and a probe is on to nab him,” a senior police officer said.

The incident comes days after militants robbed four Kalashnikovs from policemen guarding the house of the ruling PDP's district president, Advocate Javid Ahmad Sheikh, at Dialgam village in south Kashmir on September 18.

On September 8, militants snatched four rifles from the security officers of Conference leader Abdul Rashid Khanday in Begom village of south Kashmir's Kulgam.

Police later suspended four officials for “cowardice” and dereliction of duty. Earlier inAugust, unknown men snatched four rifles from PDP leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Nazir Ahmad Laway's residence in south Kashmir. An annexe to Laway's house at Kulgam was also set on fire in the process.

Police reports said the militants barged into the house of the PDP leader where they overpowered the guards, who were later suspended, before snatching their rifles.

In June, police questioned a BJP leader whose personal security officer was robbed of his service rifle by suspected militants in central Kashmir's Chadoora.

Police sources and residents of south Kashmir, which has been the centre of the current unrest, said most of the rifles have been taken away by young boys who have joined militant ranks.

“Due to decrease in infiltration bids which brought arms and ammunition into Kashmir, snatching rifle from police and other security officials earns a ticket for joining militant ranks,” an officer in J&K Police's CI Department, said.

The increase in rifle snatching incidents has send alarm bells ringing in J&K's security establishment which was battling the trend of well-educated boys belonging to financially sound families joining militant ranks over the last two years.

According to reports, over the last three months, around 100 youths from south Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Shopian, Anantnag and Pulwama, the home district of Burhan Wani, have or are in the process of joining militant ranks.


The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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