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Son of former DIG, cop who died in Anantnag terror attack ‘always led from the front’

As friends and relatives crowded through the gates of Deputy Superintendent of Police Humayun Bhat’s house, distraught family members could barely say a word through their sobs. The 2018 batch J&K Police officer, who wished to carry forward the tradition of the uniform in the family, was killed along with two officers of the Indian Army as their search party was hit by a volley of terrorist gunfire in the Gadool forest in Anantnag.

Bhat’s father, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, served in the J&K Police until his retirement as DIG Central Kashmir in 2018.

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An officer who spent his probation year with him described him as an eager and humble officer. “He was always eager to learn, a friend to all his colleagues. He always led his team and yesterday too he did the same,” said the officer.

Officials familiar with the operation said that the terrain in the particular area is difficult and “militants fired from a height upon the approaching party”.

Another officer who served with Bhat at Srinagar said, “He was an exceptional police officer. I remember when he joined the team, I was greatly impressed by his interest in learning practical policing. He was a dedicated team member, always ready to contribute.”

He said that Bhat was the proud son of a retired police officer and “found great joy in carrying on his father’s legacy by wearing the khaki”. “Gone too soon, his absence leaves a void that words can’t express, and our hearts ache with the loss of such a promising officer,” the officer said.

Bhat studied at Srinagar’s Burn Hall School and trained as an engineer at SSM college of engineering in North Kashmir. The family, originally from Pulwama, had been living in Srinagar for many years. He is survived by his parents, a brother, his wife and a son, who is just over a month old.

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After joining the force in 2018, Bhat was posted at Srinagar, then at Pattan in North Kashmir, and he was on his third posting, as Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) at Kokernag, Anantnag.

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A senior officer he worked with in the early days of his career described him as brave and compassionate. “His father is one of the most outstanding professionals, a man of principle, and Humayun had those same values. He was passionate about the uniform and never brought his father’s rank into his own professional dealings.” He added that his loss at a time when things are relatively calmer in the Valley “makes this immensely difficult to reconcile with”.

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A family friend described Bhat as an “extraordinary officer” and added that he was courageous, conscientious and down to earth. “Similar to his father, his qualities of head and heart endeared him to everyone who came in contact with him. His martyrdom is an irreparable loss to all of us who knew him and his father.”

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