A special police officer deployed with People’s Democratic Party (PDP) MLA, Aijaz Ahmad Mir, reportedly absconded with seven assault rifles of colleagues from a Police post guarding his residence at high-security Jawahar Nagar area in Srinagar.
The SPO identified as Adil Bashir Sheikh, 24, (Belt No. 488/SPO), fled with 7 AK-47 rifles and one pistol, all of which were personal licenced weapons belonging to the MLA who was currently out of the state.
The police have announced a reward of Rs 2 lakhs to capture the deserter and furthered that a case, FIR no 57/18 has been filed against him and investigation has been initiated.
A police official while speaking to Greater Kashmir said that the incident happened at 6:30 pm when the SPO had entered the J-11 quarter (official residence of MLA Mir) to “clean the rooms.”
Following the incident, the Srinagar district and the routes leading to South Kashmir has been on high alert. Amid the alert, government forces launched searches at multiple places in Srinagar and its outskirts.
Sources said that the incident came to the fore when a police officer who was on leave resumed duties and reported the incident to the MLA who later informed the police.
There have been several incidents of policemen and SPOs deserting the force along with weapons to join militant groups which have been reported in the last few years.
In March 2015, policeman Naseer Ahmad Pandit posted at the residence of former minister and legislator Altaf Bukhari fled with two rifles and joined militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. He was killed in an encounter in south Kashmir.
In January 2016, a constable Shakoor Ahmad Parray, a resident of Kundalan village of Shopian district in south Kashmir, who was posted in Bijbehara, decamped with four automatic rifles in south Kashmir, ahead of Republic day.
Earlier this month we had reported that a day after three policemen were abducted and killed in Shopian district of South Kashmir, the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists issued threats to another 24 policemen including two officers posted in the militancy-infested South Kashmir, asking them to quit or bare the consequences.