Within Hours of Claiming Responsibility for Abductions, Hizbul Mujahideen Releases Kin of J&K Policemen
In a nearly 12-minute clip, Riyaz Naikoo said it was the last time the organisation was warning the policemen.
Srinagar: Militants have released the relatives of policemen whom they had abducted from various places in south Kashmir, official sources said on Friday.
At least eight people, whose relatives were working in the Jammu and Kashmir Police, were abducted by militants on Thursday night. The sources said all those abducted had been released.
However, a senior police official said they had to check whether those abducted had returned home. Unconfirmed reports said the total number of kidnapped kin of policemen was 11.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah had condemned the abductions.
Officials said at least eight people were picked up by militants from Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag and Awantipora. “Some incidents of abduction have come to the notice of police in South Kashmir. We are ascertaining details and circumstances. In due course it shall be placed in public domain,” a police spokesman had earlier said.
The militants’ action came on a day when the NIA arrested the second son of globally wanted terrorist Syed Salahuddin. Militants kidnapped the nephew of a deputy superintendent of police from Trenz area in Shopian district, a police official said. Adnan Ahmad Shah, 26, was abducted from his home late on Thursday night, the official said.
In another incident, the son of a police officer was kidnapped from his home in Wathoo village of Shopian, he said. Yasir Bhat, whose father is presently in Hajj pilgrimage, was also abducted on Thursday night. The official did not divulge details of other abductions. Militants threatened to set afire the family home of a constable at Berthipora in Shopian, the official added.
Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo on Friday had claimed responsibility for the abduction of Kashmiri policemen’s relatives and set a three-day deadline for the release of all kin of terrorists who are in police custody, according to an audio clip circulating on social media.
Police officials refused to confirm or deny the authenticity of the nearly 12-minute clip being attributed to Naikoo.
“We did not want to involve your families in this. We picked up your relatives so that you realise what (our) mothers go through when you arrest their innocent kin,” he had said.
Abdullah said the abductions were a worrying reflection of the situation in the Valley. The National Conference vice president also lashed out at those who were vocal in condemning the alleged excesses by security forces but were silent about the abductions. “What's worse is the selective outrage — people/leaders who are so vocal about alleged security force excesses are silent about these abductions,” he said.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said families of either militants or forces should not be made to suffer for something they have little control over.
Allegations were made that security forces went on the rampage on Wednesday after killing of four policemen in Shopian in South Kashmir and damaged some houses belonging to terrorists. “Militants and forces victimising each other's families is highly condemnable and marks a new low in our situation. Families shouldn't become casualties and made to suffer for something they have little control over," Mehbooba tweeted.
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