Khajuria S Kant
Even as Omar Abdullah government was busy in removing a 20-year-old CRPF bunker at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on April 20 and celebrating the victory, unidentified gunmen shot dead an Assistant Sub Inspector of Police (ASI) in broad daylight near Safakadal in the capital city.
According to police an unidentified gunman, widely believed to be a Kashmiri militant, fired four pistol shots in point blank range on the back of ASI Sukhpal Singh, posted at Police Division Bagyas under jurisdiction of Police Station Safakadal, when he was regulating heavy rush of vehicular traffic at Darishkadal, Safakadal, at 9.40 a.m. All four of the gunshots got pumped into the ASI's body and he fell in a pool of blood. Even as the ASI was on duty along with two more of his colleagues, the shootout led to a stampede. By the time, the critically wounded ASI was evacuated and admitted to the nearby SMHS Hospital, he had suffered extensive blood loss. Within half-an-hour, doctors declared him dead.
The Police officer's killing comes at a time when a function at city Centre Lal Chowk was going on for the removal of a bunker in city Centre. Minister of State for Home, Nasir Aslam Wani, and Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda announced removal of the bunker at the function organised on the occasion where senior police and para-military CRPF officers and some National Conference workers and shopkeepers were present.
Later in the afternoon the Minister, Inspector General of Police (IGP), S M Sahai and senior police officers attended wreath laying ceremony of the killed police officer at Police Control Room (PCR), Srinagar.
Killing of a police officer by an unknown gunman in broad daylight in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir, has sent a shock wave amongst the sane elements across the state and especially those living in the Valley with the hope of peace dawning soon there. This killing assumes much more significance in view of the campaign of removing of bunkers from various locations in the Valley being rejoiced by the people in Srinagar with the removal of the CRPF bunker at a vital installation outside the Palladium Cinema complex in the historic Lal Chowk area in Srinagar. The killing has been owned by the militant outfit Islamic Front, which has also threatened to continue such attacks in future too.
The incident has once again compelled the strategists at the state as well as at the national level to once again give a rethought to its intentions of not only allowing the removal of bunkers but also to the vociferous demand of withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The matter is of grave concern to those residing in the Valley whose safety and security is the prime concern of the nation.
The Director General of J&K Police Kuldeep Khoda after inspecting the work of dismantling of the CRPF bunker at erstwhile Palladium Cinema said, “Instead of CRPF bunker Police post will come up here.” The question here arises whether the DGP has appropriately done his home work to make his cops competent enough to handle the situations, which were being aptly handled by the CRPF or the BSF. A number of statements have been issued by the so-called leaders of various political parties including the Chief Minister and especially the Minister of State (Home), Nasir Aslam Wani, who announced to make the city bunker- free in the next few weeks.