Suspected militants who abducted 11 relatives of police personnel in Jammu and Kashmir have released all of them, Director General of Police SP Vaid said late on Friday, according to the Hindustan Times. The abductions were allegedly in retaliation to the detention of the family members of three militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen by police.
In an audio clip on social media on Friday, Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo had purportedly claimed responsibility for the abductions and had given police three days to release relatives of militants. The police have yet to confirm the authenticity of the clip.
“We did not want to involve your families in this,” Naikoo purportedly said in the clip. “We picked up your relatives so that you realise what [our] mothers go through when you arrest their innocent kin. We have set them free with full dignity this time but next time it will not be repeated...we will act according to how you act.”
After the abductions, the police reportedly released Riyaz Naikoo’s father Asadullah Naikoo, who was among five people detained in Awantipora on Wednesday. A senior police official confirmed his release to the Greater Kashmir. Some other relatives of militants were also released, reports said.
The abductions had taken place in villages in Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Anantnag districts on Thursday night and Friday morning. They came a day after suspected militants shot dead four police personnel in Shopian district on Wednesday. On the same day, security forces killed top Hizbul Mujahedeen commander Altaf Kachroo and his associate in bordering Anantnag. The National Investigation Agency on Thursday arrested one of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s sons in Srinagar in connection with a terror funding case.