The Jammu and Kashmir police will provide bullet-proof (BP) Rakshak vehicles to all Station House Officers (SHOs) and Sub Divisional Police Officers (SDPOs) by August this year, to prevent loss of life during militant attacks.
The killing of six policemen including an SHO by militants in an ambush in Achabal area of Anantnag on June 17 seems to have led to this decision.
Sources in police told us that several SHOs and SDPOs did not have BP vehicles.
“All those sub-inspectors (SIs), inspectors and deputy superintendent rank officers who moved in non-BP vehicles during duty hours were vulnerable to militant attacks,” said a senior police official.
The sources said that the police department had earlier withdrawn a number of BP Rakshaks and replaced them with non-BP Tata Sumo vehicles at many police stations and SDPO offices a few years ago.
“Now the police department is likely to replace all these non-BP vehicles with BP Rakshaks to prevent loss of life during militant attacks,” said the sources.
Sources said that most of the SHOs and SDPOs had conveyed verbally or in writing to their superiors asking for BP vehicles for their free and fearless movement.
“All the non-BP vehicles at police stations and SDPO offices will be replaced with BP Rakshaks by the month of August this year across Kashmir,” the sources said.
A DySP rank officer told us that despite militant threats and requisition for BP vehicles for the past many years, the police department had failed to procure them so far.
He said that BP vehicles for SHOs and SDPOs were a must for their safety.
“Either the department should provide all the security support to its men or avoid using them in counter insurgency operations,” said the officer.
“Had slain SHO Feroz Dar been in a BP vehicle, he and other five policemen would have survived the militant attack and been alive today,” he said.
Meanwhile, Director General of Police (DGP) Shesh Paul Vaid told that all non-BP vehicles would be replaced with BP Rakshaks soon.