The family members of six policemen in India-administered Kashmir are presently at the mercy of armed strangers.

They were kidnapped by militants, official sources said on Friday, August 31st.

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.

“Families shouldn’t become casualties and [be] made to suffer for something they have little control over,” she added.

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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.

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