A security guard of J&K Bank in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district foiled a robbery bid by throwing chilli powder in the eyes of the militants, ANI has reported. The guard could avert the loot even though militants had looted his weapon. There have been regular incidents of militants robbing banks and ATMs in the Valley with militants having looting Rs 92 lakh in 14 separate incidents since October last year.
The frequency of loots has risen in recent months. Wednesday’s was the fifth incident this month.
According to police, militants are suffering from a cash crunch and are, therefore, targeting banks. In many incidents, after the heist had taken place, stone-pelters reportedly tried to obstruct the police from reaching the location.
In three of the fourteen incidents, the militants failed in their loot bids. Except for the October 28 bid, all other incidents took place after demonetisation of high-value Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes was announced on November 8 last year.
Incidentally, the robberies have also come around the time of increased militancy in the state that followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July last year. Mass agitations and clashes of public with security forces across the valley over the last few months has led to inflation in the miltants’ numbers. This has been seen especially in south Kashmir.