Crime catches up in insurgency-hit Valley
28 March 2001
Srinagar: With fighting militancy being the first priority of police and security forces, normal crime is fast picking up in Kashmir. This is evident from the recent string of crimes that took place in the Valley. The security forces and police admit that fighting and containing the crime has taken a back seat over the years due to militancy. The criminals, however, are exploiting the opportunity to maximum. Infact, the non-militancy related crime had ebbed after militancy erupted in early 90s. But the same is picking up steam once again. The recent double murder of a couple in a south Kashmir village in Anantnag shocked the entire Valley. The couple, Abdul Rashid Teli and Heseeba, were murdered by three young drug addicts, after they realised that the couple had raised money by selling a plot of land. The grisly act was committed in utter inhuman way. Teli's throat was slit when he refused to hand over the money. Haseeba became another victim when they tortured her for money, which they believed Teli had given to her. Police later said she was strangulated. The investigations later revealed that the couple had sold a plot of land to clear the debts; and had already done so when the tragedy struck. What was left was a meager amount: Rs 40. The incident horrified the entire district so much that for three days people took to streets seeking arrest and punishment for accused. Under pressure, the police acted swiftly and succeeded in nabbing the murderers. The three accused later admitted that they have been active for quite some time and Teli was, in fact, their acquaintance. Another incident involving two youth of Tangmarg in Baramualla, who were extorting money from the people at gun point is pointer to the fact that crime is gaining momentum in militancy-hit Kashmir. The gangs" experiment with extortion came to an end when a group of villagers in Tangmarg dared them. The two are now languishing in jail. There have been many other resembling incidents and instances which point to the fact that in the lurking shadow of militancy, crime is multiplying in Kashmir. K R Rajinderan, Deputy Inspector General of police admitted that crime fighting has taken a back seat. "Combating militancy is the priority," he said adding that they, however, were documenting all incidents of crime and the same were being investigated.