To arm new recruits, ultras out to snatch weapons, Two gun snatching bids foiled

When a group of four militants barged into the house of the state’s Advocate General, Jehangir Iqbal Ganai, they were focused on what to do: snatch weapons and escape.
The incident took place last night in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district and is the latest in a series of attempts to steal weapons from the police to fill the militant armoury.
In search of weapons for the new recruits, the militants are making attempts to steal rifles from policemen stationed for guard duty at shrines and residences of protected persons across the Kashmir valley.
The militants targeted the outhouse serving as a residence for the two policemen guarding the Advocate General’s roadside home in Anantnag’s Mattan township. “It happened around 8:10 in the evening when four militants came inside and entered the outhouse. The two policemen there were beaten up,” Ganai told Kashmir Post.
The attempt to snatch of rifles from the Advocate General’s house is the latest by militants in the region as they have intensified the search for weapons to arm the new recruits.
In the past two months, militants have made repeated attempts across the Kashmir valley to snatch rifles from the policemen guarding protected persons, shrines and government offices. Nine rifles were snatched by militants in April and May from policemen at three locations in Srinagar district. The Advocate General said the intention of militants was to steal weapons from the policemen. “They were asking the policemen for weapons. My mother was at the house and militants also asked her about the location of weapons,” said Ganai, who was appointed as the state’s Advocate General in June 2015.
Ganai said the militants searched for the weapons for almost 30 minutes before escaping from the scene. “They did not inquire about anything else. They had snatched the mobile phones of family members and policemen, but later gave them back,” he said. The militants have resorted to snatching of weapons from policemen as the increased vigil and upgraded security along the Line of Control has starved Kashmir’s insurgency of a free flow of weapons.
One of the earliest incidents of weapon-snatching took place in Pulwama and Shopian districts of south Kashmir in May 2012 when militants overpowered policemen guarding two villages inhabited by minority communities, and escaped with six rifles, eight magazines and a communication device. The biggest loot of weapons took place in July 2016, days after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, when protesters attacked a police station in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district and stole 23 assault and self-loading rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. In the three years between 2015 and 2017, 159 weapons were looted from installations and personnel of security forces, of which 76 weapons were later recovered. The weapons snatched include 35 AK rifles, 44 INSAS rifles, 43 self-loading rifles, one light machine gun, five .303 rifles, one gas gun, 12 pistols, one pica gun, two UMG guns and one AR-41 rifle. As the militants are resorting to frequent attempts to snatch weapons, the police last month issued an advisory to its personnel to avoid using smartphones during duty hours. It also directed the sentries to wear bulletproof gear and chain their weapons with their belts to prevent snatching of weapons.