After a special police officer (SPO) of the J&K Police deserted the force and decamped with eight weapons to join the Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, intelligence agencies are mulling verifying credentials of SPOs recruited during the tenure of the previous PDP-BJP regime. The step is being taken as there are allegations that the recruitment was made on the recommendations of politicians belonging to the ruling parties.
On September 28, SPO Adil Bashir Sheikh from Shopian, who was posted at the residence of PDP MLA Aijaz Mir, fled with seven AK-series assault rifles and a pistol from Jawahar Nagar locality, Srinagar.
Belonging to Zainpora of Shopian, Adil was engaged as an SPO on March 11, 2017.
Sources said SPOs were recruited on the recommendations of ministers and legislators of the PDP-BJP regime in 2017.
“SPOs were appointed without following the proper procedure as higher-ups in the police were under pressure to make these appointments on the directions of political bosses,” a source said, adding that during the PDP-BJP regime over 10,000 SPOs were recruited, a majority in the Kashmir valley, without any advertisement and publicity.
Importantly, after approving the appointment of 10,000 SPOs in 2017, the Union Home Ministry had on April 28, 2017 asked the J&K Government to ensure that the process was free from political interference. The directions were given to the then coalition government following complaints that some PDP leaders were trying to push their candidates for the posts.
A veteran NC leader and former minister, who had vociferously raised the issue of “political-oriented recruitment” of SPOs in the last Budget session of the Legislative Assembly, said that no criteria was followed in the recruitment. “On the directions of ministers and legislators of the previous regime, PDP workers were recruited as SPOs in the Valley,” said Ali Mohammad Sagar while demanding a probe.