Srinagar, Sep 15, 2021 – Militants killing newly-recruited J&K Police Sub-Inspector Arshid Ahmad Mir at Khanyar in Srinagar’s old city has triggered outrage in Kashmir. The officer was fired upon by a militant from behind in broad daylight, when he was returning to the police station after dropping a detainee for the Covid test in a nearby hospital.
This was the third attack on a J&K Police personnel in Srinagar city this year. In February, a gun-wielding militant killed two unarmed policemen at Baghat Barzulla Chowk in uptown Srinagar. Constables Mohammad Yousuf of Zirhama Kupwara and Suhail Ahmad of Logripora Aishmuqam, Anantnag, were at a tea stall when they were attacked from behind. Both died on the spot.
The CCTV camera grabbed graphics of the gunman walking over the bustling road with his AK-56 rifle in hand and killing the two policemen in cold blood. There was widespread mourning in the residential areas of both the slain constables.
The second attack was executed on Inspector Parvez Ahmad Dar in his neighborhood of Nowgam, on the outskirts of Srinagar, on June 22. Dar, who was posted in the CID, was in civvies and heading for a local mosque to perform his evening prayers. The CCTV footage revealed that two pistol-wielding ultras were following him and opened fire from behind. Unarmed Inspector Dar died on the spot.
The third attack also occurred in Srinagar, at Khanyar, on September 12, when a militant fired upon the unarmed Mir from a point blank range.
The CCTV footage of all the three incidents went viral on social media and evoked condemnation from all quarters. People expressed outrage at Pakistan using Kashmiris to kill Kashmiris. Earlier there used to be just murmurs as people were afraid of reprisal but now the time has changed. They are openly opposing the acts of militants and are condemning such senseless killings.
When the body of slain Sub-Inspector Mir reached his native village Kalmoona, Vilgam in Kupwara district, thousands of people were waiting to participate in his last rites.
Mir, a post graduate in Botany, had been an outstanding student during his studies. He was appointed two years back in the police and was posted in Srinagar.
Mohammad Ashraf Mir, father of the slain, a government teacher, said that he was proud of his son who always “stood for the voice of the voiceless”.
“I want to know the fault of my son. What wrong he could have done in his two years of service. I demand that the killers be brought to justice at the earliest,” a regional daily quoted Mir as having said.
The village mosque’s Imam, while addressing the gathering, described the 28-year-old Mir as a “budding flower who had not harmed anyone”. He prayed for peace to the departed soul.
The participation of thousands of people in Mir’ss funeral is a clear indication that denizens of Kashmir are fed up with bloodshed and destruction. Thousands of people attending the funeral of a policeman who was killed by the militants is a warning to Pakistan and the ultras sponsored by it that Kashmiris are in no mood to tolerate such acts.
Common Kashmiris began openly mourning and condemning such killings in 2020. Hundreds of residents gathered at Maloora, on Srinagar outskirts, and mourned the death of Constable Ashfaq of IRP’s 20 Battalion who was among the two policemen shot dead by militants at Nowgam, on August 14, 2020.
On August 17, 2020, a large number of people assembled at a village in Pattan to mourn the death of Special Police Officer Muzaffar Ali, the only bread earner of the family and a brother of six sisters, killed in an encounter.
Similar scenes of mass mourning were witnessed over the death of Constable Altaf at Eidgah in Srinagar after he was killed while resisting a militant attack on a BJP leader at Nunnar, Ganderbal, on October 6, 2020. One militant also got killed in retaliation from the BJP leader’s PSO
Shocked over Mir’s cold-blooded murder, Lt Governor’s Advisor and former top cop of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Farooq Ahmad Khan, cautioned militants against targeting policemen saying if they (militants) won’t stop killing innocents, they would soon face the wrath of the people of Kashmir. “Kashmiris are totally against militancy and would throw out these self-styled Mujahids, who actually are coward terrorists. They (militants) at that time would seek protection from the same police whom they target today; so I warn them to refrain from cowardly acts. Had they (militants) been brave, they would not have targeted an unarmed police officer from behind. I am sure that our brave officer would have ripped him (militant) apart, if he had confronted him from the front,” Khan told reporters in Srinagar
Outraged and grieved over the gruesome killing of a young officer by militants, Jammu and Kashmir policemen started a campaign on social media to express solidarity with the family of slain sub-inspector.
The hashtag #WeAreAllArshid started trending on social media soon after the gruesome murder of Mir as many senior officers of the Jammu and Kashmir Police changed the display pictures of their accounts with the picture of the slain officer.
Not only personnel of J&K Police, but netizens also joined the campaign to pay their tributes to the braveheart.
“RIP Arshid Ashraf Mir. These heartbreaking images have shaken everyone to the core. Condolences and strength to the family. No one had imagined that the life of a young promising police officer who was yet to complete his probation period would end like this,” Showakat Irshad tweeted.
While sharing a picture of Mir, another Kashmiri youth, Showkat Kashmiri tweeted: “Terrible news from #Srinagar. Sub Inspector Arshid Ahmad of @KashmirPolice was gunned down in cold blood by Pakistan’s proxy terrorist outfit TRF. I condemn the barbaric killing of Martyr Arshid May Allah rest his soul in heaven. #WeAreAllArshid.”
A young KAS officer updated his Whatsapp status to “Rest in peace Arshid, terrorists will rot in hell.”
In June 2017, a Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Ayub Pandith, was lynched to death by a violent mob, when people were observing Shab-e-Qadr outside the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of Srinagar’s old city. The officer in civil clothes was confronted by anti-national elements after his movement in the area led to suspicion. Pandith was captured by the group. He tried to resist the attack but was overpowered and beaten to death.
His lynching had evoked condemnation from the selective people like Omar Abdullah, Junaid Azim Mattu and a few others. The commoners had visited his home to express solidarity with the bereaved family but remained tight lipped.
There was tremendous anger in the J & K Police Security Wing. Officers were asking “Why should Govt give us such deaths where the mourning can be only in whispers.”
But in 2021 the situation has changed. Now, the mourning is no more in whispers, a common man is openly condemning the ultras and their acts. Kashmir has witnessed a change in the past four years after the dismissal of Mehbooba Mufti’s government in June 2018 and abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
Kashmir no longer witnesses protests, stone pelting and clashes with the police and security forces during anti-militancy operations and no one is keen on attending the funerals of the ultras. Kashmiris have begun to muster courage to protest the killings of the J&K policemen, who are a part and parcel of the Kashmiri society. (Agency)