The abduction and killing of a Special Police Officer (SPO) in Shopian district on Friday has brought into focus the 35,000 personnel who are not on the rolls of J&K Police but form an important part of their counter-insurgency operations.
The number of policemen and SPOs killed in the Valley this year is now 36. Eight of them were killed in Shopian.
Recruited to assist the regular police, SPOs have become targets at their homes and on duty. Officials in the security establishment said that the escalation in violence against the lowest ranks of the force emanates from the reduced capabilities of militants to carry out bigger attacks.
“Today, they are the most visible symbols of government and most vulnerable because they come from the same society. The capability of armed groups to carry out high-profile attacks has gone down significantly, therefore they are choosing these soft targets,” a senior official told The Indian Express.
The strength of J&K Police is 90,000. The 35,000 SPOs are foot soldiers of the force. They function as additional manpower and serve on the frontline across the state,…