SPO decamps with 7 rifles from J&K MLA’s house, likely to join terror group

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] special police officer, who was deployed on the guard duty of a People’s Democratic Party MLA, fled with seven rifles and a pistol from the lawmaker’s residence in Srinagar. The deserter SPO, Adil Bashir, is believed to have joined terrorism.

Officials said that the SPO was posted with legislator Aijaz Ahmad Mir representing Wachi constituency of Shopian district. The SPO, who also hails from Shopian, had fled off with seven rifles from Mir’s official residence at Jawahar Nagar, a senior police officer said.

“We have started investigation into this incident,” the officer added.

The incident has unnerved the security set up in Srinagar and a high alert has been sounded in Kashmir.

Police sources say at 8 on Friday evening, the police guards deployed at the official residence of Mir reported that their service weapons – seven rifles and a pistol – and SPO Adit Bashir had gone missing.

Senior police officers immediately reached the legislator’s residence at Jawahar Nagar, an uptown neighbourhood in Srinagar, where most legislators and government officials live. The area is considered to be one of the high security zones in Srinagar.

Police say they will take all the police guards into custody for questioning because it seems to a major conspiracy, not just a weapon looting incident. A reward of Rs. 2 lakh has also been announced for information on the special police officer.

More than 40 SPOs have resigned from the Jammu and Kashmir Police in last 10 days after they faced terror threats following the killing of three policemen in south Kashmir.

In the last few years, there have been several incidents of policemen and SPOs deserting the force along with weapons to join militant groups have been reported.

In March 2015, policemen Naseer Ahmad Pandit posted at the residence of former minister and legislator Altaf Bukhari decamped with two rifles and joined militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. He was killed in an encounter in south Kashmir.