Militants have kidnapped family members of six policemen in India-administered Kashmir have been kidnapped by militants, official sources said on Friday.
The abductions of 10 family members from separate places in southern Kashmir were thought to be a pressure tactic by rebels after security forces conducted multiple raids and arrested relatives of militants.
Sons, brothers and fathers of police officials have been abducted since Wednesday in three districts, including Kulgam, where five such abductions were carried out, an official said, requesting anonymity.
“Militants and forces victimizing each other’s families is highly condemnable and marks a new low in the situation,” former state chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, said.
Mufti added: “Families shouldn’t become casualties and [be] made to suffer for something they have little control over.”
Authorities on Monday arrested Syed Yousuf, son of Hizbul Mujahideen group chief Syed Salahuddin, on charges of funding militancy in the region.
The father of Riyaz Naikoo, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, was also detained and media reports said the abductions were a retaliation by militants for the arrests and detentions of their kin.
Senior police officers said they were working to ensure the safety and release of the family members of the policemen.
On Thursday, there were protests in south Kashmir against the arrests of family members by militants and the burning of militants’ houses.
India-administered Kashmir has faced a violent secessionist movement since the late 1980s that has claimed the lives of 44,760 people, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal.