Srinagar: Following a string of attacks on their colleagues and warnings by militants, as many as 24 special police officers (SPOs) have left their jobs and returned home in Tral area of Pulwama district.
According to Greater Kashmir 24 SPOs have announced their resignations in mosques, others have simply stayed home to indicate they have quit jobs.
On Friday, the head cleric of a local mosque in Syedabad and LurowJagir villages of Tral had received letters from 13 SPOs stating they had quit their jobs. While reading these letters, the cleric said, “SPOs have announced voluntary retirement from their services and are seeking public apology.”
As per the information available with Greater Kashmir on Friday, 16 SPOs left their jobs and by Saturday evening the number swelled to 24. These SPOs hail from different villages in Tral. Nine SPOs have returned in Syedabad, eight in Amirabad LurowJagir, four in Chankitar, one each in Nader, Batagund and Pinglish villages.
These SPOs, according to a source, are now planning to work in their paddy fields and orchards till they get alternative employment. “Fearing backlash many SPOs have even left their homes and are temporarily living with their relatives and friends,” the source added. “My son was a college student and due to poverty he started working as SPO. When militants, through posters and videos, warned SPOs to quit their jobs we immediately called him and asked him to resign. He initially refused because his three sisters are unmarried,” said a father of a former SPO.
He said, “Soon after one SPO was kidnapped by militants in Chankitar and one more was shot at in Syedabad recently, our son left the job and returned home.”
An SPO from LurowJagir, who recently resigned, said he was initially recruited to work as gardener but with the passage of time he was assigned the task to combat stone pelting which he disliked and he ultimately left the job. A senior police official said these resignations would add to the number of unemployed youth and would hit the SPO recruitment in the Valley. Superintendent of police Awantipora Muhammad Zahid Malik told Greater Kashmir that police have also received information regarding the resignations of SPOs and they are investigating the matter.