In a major security breach, a special police officer deployed on the guard duty of a legislator has deserted the police and decamped with seven AK-47 rifles from the heart of Srinagar city. The deserter SPO, Adil Bashir, is believed to have joined terrorism.
The incident has unnerved the security set up in Srinagar and a high alert has been sounded in Kashmir.
Police sources say at 8 this evening, the police guards deployed at the official residence of Peoples Democratic Party legislator Aijaz Ahmad Mir reported that their service weapons are missing and SPO Adit Bashir has gone missing with seven rifles and a pistol.
Senior police officers immediately reached the legislator's residence at Jawahar Nagar, an uptown neighbourhood in Srinagar, where most legislators and government officials live. The area is considered to be one of the high security zones in Srinagar.
Police say they will take all the police guards into custody for questioning because it seems to a major conspiracy, not just a weapon looting incident. A reward of Rs 2 lakh has also been announced for information on the special police officer.
"We have launched an investigation. It is not a simple case of an SPO decamping with weapons. We don't rule out involvement of some other policemen. We are taking them into custody for questioning," said Imtiyaz Ismael Parray, Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar.
He said they are investigating if the special police officer ran away with the rifles today or if he has been missing for the last few days.
"We got to know about the incident this evening. He may have done it few days ago. How come one SPO is able to flee with all weapons and others police personnel didn't know about it," said Mr Parray.
More than 40 SPOs have resigned from the Jammu and Kashmir Police in last 10 days after they faced terror threats following the killing of three policemen in south Kashmir.