When the going gets tough, the police go daft. Or so it seems, at least in the case of Jammu and Kashmir Police.
A song, which glorifies the Pakistan Air Force, has been used in a video to pay tributes to J&K Police personnel.
Sung by famed Pakistani boy Hammad Ali for the Pakistani forces, “meray wattan ye aqeedeten” is a patriotic song that went viral on social media bagging millions of hits since its release in September 2016.
With Hammad’s song being played in the background, a four-minute video made by the J&K police shows pictures of slain personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The video opens with visuals of a funeral: DGP SP Vaid and the IGP (Kashmir range) Sardar Muneer Ahmed Khan are seen carrying the coffin of their colleague.
Subsequently, images of six cops, including SHO Feroz Ahmed Dar, who were killed by Lashkar militants in south Kashmir on June 16, dominate the video. Tributes have equally been paid to other slain cops, including sub-inspector Altaf Dar aka Altaf Laptop, the counter-insurgency hero who was killed by Lashkar’s most wanted militant commander, Abu Qasim, in north Kashmir’s Bandipora in October 2015. A few weeks later, Qasim was killed in a joint operation by police and the Army.
The J&K Police’s video, inspired by the Pakistani anthem, also shows some emotional throwback pictures of the slain cops with their families, especially their children.
While the video is going viral, mainly among cops, police have posted this multimedia tribute on its official Facebook pages.
“We will continue to #serve our people and together we will get out of this quagmire of ugly violence. In the first line of defence & In frontline of battle against ugly storm of #terrorism, #J&K #Police #salutes its #martyrs (sic),” reads the message posted alongside the video on the official page of the district police, Baramulla.
A police official posted in Srinagar told this author that such videos have become a regular affair since social media is a preferred means of communication. “Our boys are exploring their talent and doing it on their own. They think that if others can use social media to spread their messages, why can’t we.”
Amid a deadly revival of militancy, the police are having a particularly tough time this year in Kashmir. According to data released by South Asian Terrorism Portal, 17 policemen have lost their lives in the first six months of this year. In 2016, 17 police personnel lost their lives in the entire year. 10 were killed in 2015, 16 in 2014, and 19 in 2013.
The gruesome killings include recent lynching of deputy SP Muhammad Ayoub Pandith outside the Jamia Masjid on June 22, when special nightlong Shab-e-Qadr prayers were on. He was lynched by violent mobs, within a week of Achabal ambush that left half-a-dozen cops dead.
In May, five policemen were killed by militants in a bid to loot a bank van in south Kashmir. While cops are on the hit list of militants and other anti-India elements, the police are trying hard to build a people-friendly image through numerous means, including police-public meetings.
As part of that same exercise, SHO Feroz Ahmed Dar had hosted an iftaar party for the civilians in his area just a few days before he was killed by militants. Since the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8, 2016, the situation in Kashmir continues to be edgy. At least 110 civilians were killed, over 17,000 wounded and more than 1,000 blinded in use of force by government forces.
While the civilians often accuse the police of unleashing atrocities on “fellow citizens”, the increasing attacks on cops have seen the department issuing multiple advisories asking police personnel to refrain from visiting their homes in volatile areas, on Eid Ul Fitr. The cops were also asked to refrain from offering congregational festival prayers at civilian mosques.