The conflict between militant groups and state agencies in South Kashmir has turned more violent, with each group targeting the other's family members.
Hizbul Mujahideen Kashmir chief, Riyaz Naikoo, has warned the J&K police and other intelligence agencies that they will abduct more families if the police harass militants' families.
"We kidnapped your relatives so that you realize that we can also harm you. We have released them this time with full dignity, but next time that will not be the case. We will reach according to how you act with our families" Naikoo said in an audio clip released on social media.
The militant group has released all the abducted persons who were either related to J&K police personnel or were employed in the police force on Friday. The move came after the J&K police released the father of Naikoo who was arrested on Thursday from his residence in Pulwama district.
Prior to that, the news of the security forces setting ablaze the houses of the two militants in Shopian spread.
In a statement issued on Friday, the militant commander Riyaz Naikoo, whose father was arrested on Friday from his residence in Pulwama district, said that the militants have nothing against the relatives of policemen but if their families are harassed, they will not watch in silence.
The militants have also released separate videos of the abducted persons who are seen appealing the Director-General, J&K Police, SP Vaid of not involving the families of the militants in this war.
"If the families of militants are harassed, it is we the relatives of the policemen who will be at the receiving end. We appeal to the authorities to spare the families of each side in this conflict. We are all locals and cannot live in disharmony," a nephew of a police officer is seen saying in a released video.
The new shift in the militancy versus state policy in Kashmir has seen a dramatic shift from appeasing local militants by offering them a chance to surrender to a more hardcore targeted killing through encounters.
The emergence of street rebellion by the commoners amidst gunfight between militants and security forces has also involved the unarmed people in the conflict.
The recent chain of events holds testimony to the fact that both the security agencies and militants have intensified attacks on each other and now their respective families have become the new target.
Since June this year, the militants have carried out strategic attacks on the local policemen either inside their houses or while on duty. The security forces have also engaged in increasing gun battles with the militants resulting in a lot of militant casualties.
The killing of four J&K policemen at Arhama village in Shopian district, while they were repairing a vehicle seemed to be a flashpoint, triggering raids by the security forces at militant houses and arrest of the father of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander.
The militants resorted to serial abductions from various places in South Kashmir within a matter of 24 hours post which the J&K police released Naikoo's father.