SP Vaid Director General of Police (DGP) and other senior officers of of Jammu & Kashmir poice  carrying the bodies of the four policemen killed in Shopian

The Shopian ambush in which four Jammu and Kashmir policemen were killed is the latest attack by militants

New Delhi: Wednesday’s deadly ambush in south Kashmir’s Shopian that left four J&K policemen dead is the latest in a spate of ‘revenge’ attacks in which militants have specifically targeted local security personnel.

The slain policemen — Constable Ishfaq Ahmad Mir, Constable Javid Ahmad Bhat, Constable Mohammad Iqbal Mir and Special Police Officer (SPO) Adil Manzoor Bhat — were repairing a broken-down vehicle when the militants struck.

The attack came five hours after top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Altaf Ahmed Dar and his associate Umar Rashid were gunned down by security forces in an encounter at nearby Muniward village in Anantnag.

The J&K police personnel are bearing the brunt of these tit-for-tat killings, particularly in south Kashmir, the hotbed of home-grown militancy in the Valley, which has been on the boil since the July 2016 killing of the social media-savvy Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Militants have also been openly sending threats, through social media and pamphlets, to local policemen, especially special police officers, ordering them to either “resign” or “die”.

Series of Attacks

There has been a series of such attacks targeting local security personnel, both Army men and J&K policemen. Not only are militants targeting the security personnel, they have also been posting videos of the last few minutes of their lives.

On 20 July, Mohammad Saleem Shah, a J&K police constable was killed after being abducted. The next day, militants released a video of his last minutes, in which he is writhing in pain while telling one of his interrogators that he was involved in the killing of a top militant commander in 2015.

“We were responsible for the killing of Adil Pathan, a militant,” Saleem says in the video.

Two weeks earlier, on 6 July, Javed Ahmed Dar, a personal security officer posted with former Shopian superintendent of police (SP) Shailendra Mishra, was abducted from Kulgam. Sources told ThePrint that Dar had participated in an encounter that left top militants commanders dead in Shopian.

Local residents found his body in a stream in Kulgam the next day.

Army personnel too have not been spared.

On 14 June, Aurangzeb, an Army jawan with the 23 Rashtriya Rifles, was abducted, tortured and killed in Pulwama.

In a video that the militants released on social media, Aurangzeb is seen being interrogated about his closeness to an army officer who had gunned down Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sameer Tiger in April. In the one-and-a-half minute video, militants are also seen asking him about the encounters he had participated in.

On 16 June, 2017, militants ambushed a police party on the outskirts of Anantnag district and killed six policemen including a station house officer.

Police sources said the militants wanted to take revenge for the killing of local Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Junaid Mattoo.