A day after militants abducted 11 relatives of policemen in eight hours in south Kashmir, the authorities began releasing detained relatives of militants, including the father of Hizbul Mujahideen ‘operational commander’ Riyaz Naikoo.In response, the militants freed three till Friday afternoon.Among the freed relatives of policemen were the brother of an officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police from Kulgam, a police official said. Eight persons remained in the custody of the abductors.Earlier in the day, the police quietly released over a dozen relatives of militants in Pulwama. In his late 60s, Asadullah Naikoo, father of Hizb ‘commander’ Riyaz, was among them.“Asadullah was not arrested but was detained for questioning,” said Superintendent of Police, Awantipora, Zahid Malik. At least 11 relatives of militants were detained by the security forces in the past three days in south Kashmir.An unusual pattern of detentions of family members of militants started on August 7, when the security agencies detained over a dozen relatives of three on-the-run Hizbul Mujahideen militants — Adil Ahmad Mir, Adfar Fayaz Parray and Hammad Khan — in the Tral area of Pulwama in nocturnal raids. The police described the arrested persons, mainly fathers and brothers, including a Class 11 student, as “overground workers”. In response, militants abducted the son of Rafiq Ahmad Rather, posted at the CID headquarters in Srinagar, from Tral on August 29. Asif Rather, pursuing a Master’s in Sericulture, remains captive of the militants.