It’s a first for the Jammu and Kashmir Police in three decades of battling insurgency in the Valley. Never before had militants abducted the kin of Kashmiri policemen in response to detentions and alleged harassment of the relatives of militants and ransacking or burning down of their houses by government forces. That rubicon was crossed this August, when three policemen and eight kin of policemen were abducted and the police warned by Hizbul Mujahideen’s local top gun, Riyaz Naikoo, to refrain from involving militants’ families in their efforts to quell the insurgency.
For long, it’s been usual practice for security agencies to arrest family members of militants or detain them under preventive detention laws, deny passports to them and so on. By abducting family members of policemen, the militants have thrown a new challenge at the government’s policy and practice on how to deal with militants’ families.