41 cops killed in 2018, highest in 15 years

41 cops killed in 2018, highest in 15 years

Militants also snatched 28 rifles

In 2018 so far, 41 policemen were killed by militants, which is the highest in the past 15 years. Militants also looted 28 weapons from the police, official figures say.

Nine of the deceased were special police officers and the rest regular policemen. The figures show that last year the force lost 31 men to militant attacks. 

The highest number of 23 policemen was killed in the first half of 2018. Even during the Ramadhan ceasefire, when forces followed didn’t launch any operation against militants from May 16 to June 17, five policemen were killed.

The month of September saw a spike in the kidnapping of special police officers (SPOs), triggering panic among policemen. The abductions prompted the police force to ask its men to avoid visiting their homes in southern Kashmir without first informing the respective police stations.

Also, weapon snatching by militants kept the police top brass on toes. Figures reveal militants made 25 attempts to snatch weapons this year, and succeeded in decamping with 28 service rifles from policemen. 

The majority of weapon snatching incidents took place in restive southern districts. In Srinagar, militants made two major bids, including the one that took place at the official residence of former PDP legislator Aijaz Mir at Jawhar Nagar, where his SPO decamped with seven rifles and the lawmaker’s licensed pistol.

Police figures reveal that since 2016, 70 weapons were looted by militants that include 17 AK-47 rifles and over 7000 rounds of ammunition. The looted weapons also include 27 SLR rifles, 14 INSAS rifles, six pistols, a .303 rifle, a carbine, three UBGL throwers and a Taser gun.

The gun snatching forced the police to set a new standard operating procedure, which included banning the use of mobile phones while on duty and using chains to tie the weapons with the waist of the policemen.