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Militants kill former cop in Valley

Srinagar, Aug. 10: A former police officer posted in Srinagar’s volatile old city during 2008 anti Amarnath land agitation and 2009 summer unrest was killed by suspected militants in Srinagar today.

A police spokesman said former deputy superintendent Abdul Hamid Bhat was shot dead by unknown militants when he was coming out of a mosque at Batamaloo locality where he had offered Friday prayers.

Valley police chief S.M. Sahai said Bhat received gunshot wounds in his head, which caused his instant death.

Police sources said Bhat was posted as sub divisional police officer S R Gunj in old city during 2008 anti Amaranth land agitation and 2009 unrest against the alleged rape and murder of two Shopian women by security forces.

Old city is Valley’s separatist nerve centre where stone throwing protests were a daily routine during these two years, and several protestors were killed or injured in firing by security forces in the area during these protests.

A police officer said it was too early to connect the slain officer with his stint at S R Gunj. “Investigations are on which will reveal why he was targeted”, he said.

Sahai, however, said he does not think Bhat “ was responsible for anything that there should have been any revenge”.

“It is a fact that policeman for various reasons have been targeted. We have to perform our duties under vulnerable circumstances”, he said.

Sahai said several policemen were targeted in Kashmir while they are on way or out of mosque.

“Many policemen have been killed (this way). Even one of deputy inspector general (DIGs) have been killed (in the past)”, he said. IGP Kashmir said some of former militants have got activated and they have got some local boys involved also.

“As we have seen a 12 year old boy was captured on camera lobbing grenade (in Sopore)”, he said. Sahai said the police is facing a new challenge since some of the released militant have got recycled into militancy. “Recycling of released militants has taken place”, he said.