The Bold Voice of J&K

Over 100 successful operations failed to get him a job in J&K Police

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SPO Ashraf Mir’s killing by terrorists in broad daylight in Pulwama is a major setback for counterinsurgent forces in Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU: A routine bulletin from the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday evening made a cursory mention of the wreath-laying ceremony held at District Police Lines Pulwama in honour of ‘Special Police Officer’ (SPO) Mohammad Ashraf Mir of Mouchpona. Forty four-year-old Mir was gunned down by suspected terrorists with an AK-47 rifle in Pulwma’s Murran Chowk.
Almost everybody in media and Police dismissed Mir’s killing as umpteenth elimination of a poor SPO who drew a few thousand rupees from the State exchequer for managing to get his name incorporated in the long list of 25,000 such people through some politician. Many of such unarmed SPOs have been shot dead or left critically injured by terrorists like lame ducks over the last two decades.
It was routinely made public that Mir was listed as SPO in Srinagar.
Well-placed sources, however, revealed to STATE TIMES that Ashraf Mir, who simultaneously held a temporary residence to hide himself in Srinagar, was as much important asset for Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K Police as Sub Inspector Altaf Ahmed alias Laptop who was shot dead in a dramatic encounter during an operation by then Lashkar-e-Tayyiba chief Abu Qasim in Ajas area of Bandipora on October 7, 2015.
Senior and middle-ranking officers in J&K Police rated Altaf Laptop as the SOG’s most important source and described his killing “equivalent to the loss of 100 SPs and Commanding Officers”. They revealed that Laptop, who had risen from ranks in a quick succession, had planned and executed hundreds of successful counterinsurgency operations and helped the Police and security forces eliminate over two hundred terrorists across the Valley.
“Altaf was in fact a protégé of Ashraf Mir. His loss is colossal and unprecedented for SOG in the last one decade”, said an officer of J&K Police who has been closely associated with counterinsurgency operations in the last over 15 years. According to him, Ashraf Mir worked mostly for SOG Srinagar but carried out operations throughout the Valley.
The officer narrated how Mir and three others of his group had caused a dent to terrorist ranks in the Valley with hundreds of spectacular operations. “He began working with us when he was just 18 years old. He was the man who got Altaf and many others associated with us. It was a decisive victory over the terrorists as we neutralised scores of their dreaded commanders”.
In one of his secret operations, Ashraf Mir was arrested by Police in a different district and some arms and ammunition were recovered from him. Possibly for operational and security reasons, SOG Srinagar did not own him and did nothing to get him released.
In 2010, Ashraf Mir was recruited as a Constable in SOG Srinagar on the basis of his performance on counterinsurgency front. During the course of his character verification, CID reported that he was involved in a criminal case as one FIR stood registered against him. Consequently, his order of appointment was cancelled.
In 2013, on sustained insistence of some officers, Ashraf Mir was again recruited as Follower (inferior to Constable) in Srinagar Police. Yet again CID reported that there was an FIR against him. Yet again he failed to get a permanent job. Thereafter, he lost all hopes of getting a permanent job but continued as SPO against a meagre honourarium.
“Out of four of this group, only one succeeded to get a permanent job. He is now a Sub Inspector in Srinagar. One of them fled to Jammu and settled there permanently for fear of attack by terrorists. One of them was shot dead in 2008 and second lost his life today”, said another senior Police officer.
Today itself, suspected militants left SPO Trilok Singh critically injured in a shootout at Khannabal, Anantnag. Two days back, suspected terrorists barged into the tin shed residence of SPO Mushtaq Ahmad at Katso Wopzan near Bijbehara and shot him dead. His wife Fareeda attempted to guard him but she too was hit and left critically wounded. She is now battling for life in Intensive Care Unit of SKIMS, Srinagar.

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