Spurt in the incidents of gun-snatching by militants in Kashmir has triggered concern in the security establishment, prompting the army to say today that it is working with police to tackle the new strategy of the ultras.
Over the last three months, 67 weapons, including AK-47, INSAS, Carbine, SLR, .303 rifles, have been looted and snatched from police personnel in 12 such incidents.
"It is a new strategy and plan of the militants with twin objective of making new recruits prove their loyalty and commitment towards gun culture and also to create public perception about demoralisation in the police forces," a senior police officer said.
The officer, however, dismissed the theory that the snatching is done to armm militants, arguing that the weapons like INSAS, Carbines, SLR rifles are not of much use to the militants unlike the AK rifles.
"Rifle snatching incidents witnessed recently in the valley, particularly in south Kashmir, is a cause of concern," said Srinagar-based Army Commander Lt Gen Satish Dua at a function today.
"There are some small pickets of the police where they are not able to take care of the situation if the militants come in. It is being addressed jointly with the police," he added.
Among the steps that are being taken by the forces is to increase the number of men at pickets, including those guarding minority community members in south Kashmir.
Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Rashid Bhat, who was close to slain militant commanderBurhan Wani, in a recent video message has said that several youth have snatched weapons from security forces and have joined the Hizb ranks.
"Anyone who wants to join us, he should snatch a weapon and join us. We welcome them all wholeheartedly," said Zakir, a former engineering student of Chandigarh, in the video.
Police feels his vedio message will further incite and encourage youth to snatch and loot weapons from police and other forces in Kashmir in days to come.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)