Youths in hordes filing forms for SPO vacancies but many of them harassed, beaten up; 2 SPOs resign
Some improvement in situation on 46th day of shutdown in Kashmir
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Aug 23: Even as large number of unemployed Kashmiri youths are coming forward to file their application forms for recruitment against nearly 10,000 vacancies of Special Police Officers (SPOs), many of the candidates are being harassed and beaten up in full view of the public by supporters of current turbulence triggered by the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8. At least two SPOs have reportedly resigned under threat from the separatists.
According to the local news agency CNS and some television news channels, SPOs Waseem Ahmad Sheikh and Firdaus Ahmad have publicly announced their resignation in Behrampora and Thakgund villages of Sopore, in North Kashmir on Monday evening. One of them was heard saying that he had tendered his resignation as people of his area had put him under pressure and threatened social boycott to his family. He was reportedly engaged as SPO and posted as driver in the office of Sub Divisional Police Officer in Rafiabad area of Sopore Police district.
SP Sopore Harmit Singh was not reachable on phone for comment. A text message sent to him for his reaction to the reports of the SPOs’ resignation did not deliver on SP’s cellphone.
Informed sources told STATE TIMES that thousands of application forms had been received in all the 10 districts of Kashmir valley as a large number of candidates were turning up to try their luck for engagement as SPO. This fresh recruitment drive in Police was announced immediately after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s request to the Government of India and after union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Srinagar on July 26. Deputy Commissioners have been appointed as Chairpersons of the selection panels.
This recruitment drive is widely perceived to be an attempt to make a dent in the current separatist movement that has received a boost with the killing of Burhan Wani and two other militants of his group on July 8. Candidates can submit their forms from August 10 to August 25.
However, according to credible reports, many of such candidates are being harassed, threatened and beaten up publicly in broad daylight. Some of such incidents have been reported just outside the offices of some DCs and SPs in entire Valley. On Monday many of such aspirants were stopped and frisked by unruly groups in Budgam and their original qualification certificates and other documents were torn off.
Even a number of Government employees have been spotted attacking such candidates on different roads that have been deserted by Police 45 days ago.
Meanwhile, slight improvement was marked in the tense situation on Tuesday as some vehicles operated and several shops were spotted open in Central and North Kashmir Kashmir inspite of it being the 46th day of shutdown. Senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik have called shutdown, beginning on July 9. However, no passenger services have operated in the Valley till date.
Some minor incidents of stone pelting and clashes took place on withdrawal of Police and paramilitary deployment in the evening in downtown Srinagar where curfew remained in force and it was relaxed for 8 hours from 9.00 a.m. Restrictions were enforced in some other district headquarters and major towns.
Reports said that about a dozen people sustained minor injuries in a clash at Weil Nowgam in Shopian. In all, two dozen protesters were reportedly injured in today’s clashes with Police and security forces. Unconfirmed reports said that a group of people attacked forces and residence of Congress MLA from Baramulla, Usman Majid, in Ajas and Kaloosa area of Bandipora.
Reports said that protesters clashed with Police and CRPF at Umarabad in jurisdiction of Police Station Parimpora.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]