Since 1990, more than 1,500 Jammu and Kashmir policemen have laid down their lives while fighting Pakistan-sponsored militancy in the Himalayan region. Most of the slain cops have been locals and have fought the ultras valiantly.
Being a policeman in J&K is not an easy job. Everyone who opts for a job in the police in the Union Territory, especially in Kashmir, is aware of the dangers he may face. But the local Kashmiri men and women have proven it beyond doubt that they are brave and courageous. Them joining police force is ample proof of their resolve to fight the adversary, who has left no stone unturned to convert J&K into a hell.
On November 22, President Ram Nath Kovind conferred Shaurya Chakra to three J&K policemen. Late Sub-Inspector Imran Hussain Tak and Special Police Officer (SPO), late Ashiq Hussain Malik, were awarded posthumously, while the third J&K policeman, head constable Subash Chander, received the award in person from the President.
Tak displayed heroic action, indomitable spirit and exceptional bravery while fighting the militants in Zakura area of Srinagar outskirts in 2017. He killed a top militant commander and arrested another despite sustaining bullet injuries. He laid down his life for the nation. His wife Gulnaz Akhtar received the award from the President in New Delhi.
"President Kovind presented Shaurya Chakra to ShriImran Hussain Tak (Posthumous), Sub Inspector, J&K Police. He displayed heroic action, indomitable spirit, exceptional bravery, utmost commitment to duty in fighting with terrorists and made supreme sacrifice for the nation," the office of President tweeted.
Special Police Officer (SPO) of J&K Police Ashiq Hussain Malik displayed the highest degree of courage during an anti-militancy operation in Anantnag in 2018. He killed four heavily armed militants before laying down his life. His parents Maqbool Malik and Shahzado Bano received the award from President Kovind.
"President Kovind presents Shaurya Chakra to ShriAshiq Hussain Malik (Posthumous), Special Police Official, Jammu & Kashmir. He displayed exceptional & conspicuous bravery, raw courage and commitment to duty in fighting with terrorists and made supreme sacrifice for the nation," read another tweet from the President's office.
The third policeman, head constable Subash Chander, was conferred by Shaurya Chakra by the President in person. Chander was deployed at a joint checkpoint at Kralhar in north Kashmir's Baramulla district during Urban Local Bodies elections.
During checking, an SUV was stopped and the passengers asked to prove their identity. One of the men in the vehicle took out an AK-47 rifle and fired on Chander, who by then had taken a defensive position. There were eight others in the vehicle, making it difficult for the policeman to engage the militant. In the melee, civilians attempted to flee but the two militants - including the first attacker - tried to take them hostage.
The President Office tweeted: "President Kovindpresents Shaurya Chakra to Shri Subash Chander, Head Constable, J&K Police. While safeguarding the lives of four civilians in an extremely dangerous situation, he displayed extreme bravery and eliminated two Pakistani terrorists."
Saga of sacrifices
Despite facing intimidations, life threats and difficult situations, the policemen have not succumbed and have been an integral part of the fight against militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
During the past three decades, from special police officers to DIG-level officers, many have lost their lives. In 2004, a Deputy Inspector General of Police was shot dead outside a mosque in Srinagar. In June 2017, Deputy Superintendent of Police Ayub Pandit was lynched by a mob outside Jamia Masjid in Srinagar's old city when he was on night duty in the holy month of Ramadan.
On June 20, 2017, Station House Officer Feroz Dar was killed with his five associates in a militant ambush at Achabal town in south Kashmir's Anantnag district.
In August 2018, 45-year-old police sub-inspector Mohammad Ashraf Dar came home to celebrate Eid with his family and was killed in his kitchen in front of his one-year-old daughter.
In October 2018, sub-inspector Imtiyaz Ahmad Mir was killed by militants when he was on way to his home in Pulwama district.
In June this year, policeman, Fayaz Ahmed, his wife, Raja Begum and daughter, Rafia Akhtar, were shot dead by ultras at Hari Parigam village in Pulwama.
The victims were home when the militants barged in and opened indiscriminate fire. In the same month, police officer, Parvez Ahmad Dar, was shot dead by militants in front of a mosque in Nowgam area on Srinagar outskirts. He was going for the maghrib(evening) prayers when the ultras targeted him.
In September this year, a probationary sub-inspector, Arshid Ahmad, was shot dead from point-blank range by a militant at Khanyar in Srinagar's old city.
In a nutshell, J&K policemen have been the soft targets for the militants and whenever ultras have got a chance to hit them, they have done it. But these brave men have remained steadfast in their resolve to eliminate the militancy from J&K and have been successful in their mission. They have been at the forefront in the fight against militancy.
J&K policemen have led from front to fight the militants. Soon after the JeM militants carried out a suicide attack at Pulwama on February 14, 2019, leaving 40 paramilitary CRPF men dead, security forces launched a counter offensive against the ultras. In an encounter with the JeM militants then Deputy Inspector-General of Police, South Kashmir range, Amit Kumar, sustained gunshot injuries in his abdomen while leading the operation.
In March 2017, militants ambushed a cavalcade of senior police officers in south Kashmir. The ultras travelling in a car, appeared from a narrow lane and started firing at the cavalcade of Superintendent of Police, Pulwama, Rayees Mohammad Bhat, Superintendent of Police, Awantipora, Mohammad Zahid and Additional Superintendent of Police, Pulwama, Chandan Kohli at Padgampora in Pulwama.
The daring IPS officers retaliated and killed two militants on the spot.
After the Pakistan sponsored militancy broke out in J&K, policemen were pressured by various militant organisations to tender their resignations and call it quits. But most of these brave men and women didn't succumb to pressure. They carried on with their jobs and also inspired coming generations to follow their footsteps. They have shown unparalleled courage. From maintaining law and order to providing assistance in disasters and fighting militancy J&K Police have proven its dedication to serve and secure the lives of the people. They have remained available 24x7 to ensure a safe environment for the people.
Many commanders of the central armed forces have always reiterated that fighting militancy in the Union Territory without J&K Police would not have been possible. The robust intelligence network established by the local policemen has thwarted every attempt of the neighbouring country to disrupt the process of peace and development in the Himalayan region. J&K Policemen along with other security forces have neutralised every threat. Militancy in J&K is on its last legs due to the sacrifices and efforts of the security forces, including local policemen.
Addressing the Police Commemoration Day-2021, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had said: "I salute the families of the martyrs and assure them that the J & K Government will always stand by them. My sincere homage to the police personnel, who laid down their lives while fighting terrorism in J&K."
J&K Police origin
The Jammu and Kashmir Police force came into existence in 1873 with one police officer known as Kotwal and 14 thanedars for Srinagar city. This police force would control crime and take care of law and order situations. It was in 1913 that the state requisitioned the service of an Imperial Police (IP) officer on deputation and appointed Mr Broadway as the first Inspector General of Police in June 1913. Since then the Police in J&K has undergone several re-organisations. The employee strength of Police in J&K in the year 1889-90 was 1,040, which further rose to 1,570 in 1903 and 40 years later, in 1943-44, the strength of J&K Police was 3,179. At present, it has exceeded the 90,000 mark.
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