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Slain SPO had a large family to support..

He had been finding it really hard to raise his family of seven members on a paltry salary of rupees six thousand a month that he drew as a Special Police Officer (SPO). So, in desperation, the 40-year-old Muhammad Yusuf Bajad saw a way out of this misery: join the Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir police.
Like many, he thought a stint in the elite force, that usually positions itself on the frontline of counter-insurgency campaign against guerrilla fighters, would earn him enough acclaim for him to be recommended for a constable’s job. A constable in the police force draws a salary of rupees twenty-thousand a month, or more. With this sum of money he hoped to meet all his family expenditure. But it was a wish that died with him when he was hit by a bullet in the shootout with militants in the forests of Kupwara, and it now leaves his young family looking at a future full of uncertainty and agony.
Bajad had come to the police some eighteen years back looking for a job and seeing him desperate and eager to work, the police had posted him as a low-paying police official with no perks or other remunerations that police officials are usually entitled to. During these years, he struggled to pay the tuition fee of his children and even it was difficult at times to feed his large family.
Fed up with a life of want and scarcity, he made the fateful choice of joining the SOG last year. “My Dad somehow managed a financial assistance from bank to educate me and to support the large family. But despite best of his efforts, my brothers and sister had to abandon education a few years ago due to abject poverty,” said Iqbal Ahmad, 24, his eldest son, whose voice was thick with emotion.
A few days before when the police, the army, and the paramilitary forces laid a siege of the Halmatpora forest in the Kupwara district, Bajad must have thought here was an opportunity to show his seniors that he was a man capable of unusual bravery and ready to take on battle-hardened militants pitted against him in the forest. But it was a contest that proved to be his undoing.
On Thursday evening a large number of mourners turned out in his native village of Kachama to take part in his funeral. For nearly two months now, he was part of a SOG unit based in the Kandi area of the district. According to a police official, “he was eagerly eyeing an opportunity to participate in a fight with militants to promote himself to the constable position and be able to manage the family expenditures,” said the official.
“He often showed eagerness to get a citation following his participation in an encounter, which would subsequently ensure his promotion to the Constable rank. He was virtually struggling to feed the family and educate children against nominal remuneration,” said a policeman who claimed to have spent enough time with him.
For a family which had known nothing but misery, Iqbal, the slain cop’s son, cheered the family with his success a few weeks back when he completed his master’s degree in Business Management from a university in Chandigarh. “I regret to have a Masters’ degree holder to my credit now, when my Dad has left me alone for rest of my life. The main reason for him to join the SOG was to impart me the higher education and repay the loan he was forced to avail for the same purpose months before. Now he would have expected me to d a job and support the family but alas destiny snatched him from us,” said Iqbal.

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