SPOs ‘escorting’ alleged Hizbul militant held

Three special police officers (SPOs) were among seven people arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Monday after they were allegedly found escorting a wanted Hizbul Mujahideen militant to the Valley from Gorakhpur, adjoining Nepal, in Uttar Pradesh.

Identifying the arrested militant as Abdul Rashid of Dooru (Kulgam) in Kashmir, Deputy Inspector General of Police for Ramban-Doda-Kishtwar range, Garib Dass, said he had sneaked into India from Nepal along with the relatives of another alleged militant. The apprehended SPOs included Mehboob Bhat, Jahangir Beig and Shamas Din Beig.

According to Dass, Dooru, along with 85-year-old Gul Zaman, and the 55-year-old mother and nine-year-old son of Hizbul militant Manzoor Bhat, was trying to enter the Valley after the four had managed their way across the border from Nepal. Bhat is still camping in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), and is reportedly married to a local girl there.

Of the SPOs arrested, while Mehboob Bhat is Manzoor's brother, the other two are related to Zaman.

Police said both Manzoor Bhat and arrested militant Abdul Rashid had crossed over into PoK from Kupwara in 2002.

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