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Home they brought their warrior dead

Constable Abdul Kareem was shot dead by militants when he intercepted their vehicle at the checkpoint at Chogal Handwara on Saturday evening. The fallen hero is survived by an old age mother, pregnant wife and three children, eldest being a nine-year-old son.

Thousands of people turned up to join the funeral procession of the slain constable. His coffin is showered with flower petals as a mark of respect.

Emotional scenes were witnessed — something that has been missing in the last five months of the unrest when cops were treated as the biggest enemy by separatists and ubiquitous gangs of stone pelters. Even posters were pasted in number of localities asking cops to resign or social boycott. Such was the threat that two Special police officers (SPOs) publicly announced their resignations from the police department in the apple rich town of Sopore in August last year.

Five months on, the perceptible change is being felt on the ground. The entire village came out to pay tribute to the slain cop. Leading the funeral procession was MLA Langate Sheikh Abdul Rasheed aka Engineer Rasheed who appealed to the United Jihad Counsel (UJC) — an umbrella group of over a dozen militant outfits based in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, to understand the compulsions of the local cops.

“UJC needs to keep in mind that about one lakh jawans of J&K police cannot be isolated. While many cops lost their lives supporting resistance movement, dozens were terminated from services and UJC should keep in mind that there is always scope in making local cops people friendly,” said Engineer Rasheed.

MLA Langate, who was the architect of Save Afzal Guru Resolution in the Legislative Assembly, said no mother would ever wish to get the coffin of her beloved one.

“It makes no difference to the families, wives, mothers and kids of the deceased personnel as there can be no substitute to human lives. It is high time all stakeholders put aside their arrogance and stop humanity from bleeding by resolving the dispute”, he said.

Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir Police paid tribute to their fallen hero. All ranks of Police gathered for the wreath-laying ceremony at District Police Lines Handwara. SSP Handwara Ghulam Jeelani led his officers and men to pay the homage to the slain cop.

“Thousands of people and all ranks of Handwara police officers and officials attended the Nimaz-i-Jinaza (Burial prayers) of martyred cop at Lach Mawar”, said a police spokesman.