At least 31 policemen in Indian-administered Kashmir have been killed by militants this year, according to official estimates. Sameer Yasir reports on how the state’s police force is bearing the brunt of the insurgency.
Mohammad Ashraf Dar was killed in his kitchen in front of his one-year-old daughter on 22 August. It was the day of Eid-ul-Adha, a holy Muslim festival.
The 45-year-old sub-inspector was posted to central Kashmir but he had come home to spend the holiday with his wife and three children.
His family lives in the tiny village of Larve, surrounded by paddy fields and apple orchards, in southern Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The region has witnessed a fresh spiral of deadly violence, sparked by the killing of a popular militant leader, Burhan Wani, in July 2016 by Indian security forces.
And policemen, many of them local Muslims, have become the most vulnerable targets as violence escalates in the region.
In recent months, they have even been advised to avoid visiting their homes. If they do, they should take “extreme precautions”, particularly in the southern region, said the Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Shesh Paul Vaid.
‘Like negotiating mines’
Dar’s colleagues said he was asked by his friends and family to stay away from home but he had said he had no need to hide. “Am I a thief? I have never wronged anyone,” he had said.
“The life of a local policeman fighting a homegrown insurgency is like walking on a…