‘Painful to see losing lives’

Kashmir Magazine

Below are the excerpts from the interview of Dilbag Singh, Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Q: Militancy has again spiked in Kashmir region. Now a new phase called home-grown militancy has started where youth are joining the militant ranks leaving their education and jobs. How do you view the present situation?

A: If we look at the facts and figure we see there has been a tremendous improvement in the situation from the past. The figures of stone pelting events, law and order crisis events, fresh recruitments and actual engagements of the militant front have largely climbed down. The peaceful conduct of elections to Panchayat and local urban bodies is in itself an indication of normalcy in the valley.

Q: The alienation and radicalization of youth is increasing day by day. What are the steps taken by the J&K Police as an organisation in this regard?

A: Police is one of the agency in addressing the alienation and radicalization of youth. We have started many programmes for this purpose. We have stopped many youth who were about to join the militants. We also busted some modules that were luring the youth and neutralized them. We have involved families in weaning away youth from joining militants and instead counseled them for careers in life. Moreover, our efforts have always been to conduct neat and clean counter-insurgency operations where there are no civilian causalities. However, at times some emotional scenes attract people to come near to the encounter sites that lead to incidental civilian killings. We restraint from doing any harm to the civilian population and appeal them to remain away from the encounter sites. After analyzing the collateral damage, we issued guidelines to the police as well to the general public so that the damage could be minimized. Through newspapers and posters the message reached to the public and to a certain extent we succeeded in preventing civilian causalities. We conduct sports events too where youths are engaged to showcase their talents.

Q: What are the causes of the alienation of youth in Kashmir?

A: I think there is need to improve the educational, sports and employability opportunities for the positive engagement of the youth. Lack of employment opportunities is a crucial issue for Kashmir youth. Misuse of religion for spreading hatred against other religions or communities is also one of the factors for alienation of youth. The social and religious scholars and leaders have a role to guide the youth positively for the productive works.

Q: The attitude of the media in New Delhi towards Kashmir has been biased. The TV debates are provoking youth by projecting them as ‘anti-national’ or ‘pro-Pakistanis’. To what extent this media attitude is responsible for alienation of youth in Kashmir?

A: The competitive religiosity and the media debates have to a certain extent raised apprehensions among the youth that their future with mainland India is not safe. It is the need of the hour that such irresponsible communication should be avoided.

Q: Parliamentary and state assembly elections are ahead. What are your preparations to tackle the possible security threats to the contestants and the general public participating in the elections?

A: In democracy the election has significant place as it leads to the formation of the government. The service delivery in the government is highly affected if people elect good people to form the government. Since the collapse of the previous government, the Governor’s rule continued for six months and after that President’s rule is imposed in the state as per the constitution. It is always difficult in Governor’s or President’s rule to reach each and every person to address the grievances which is possible in the duly elected government. We are fully prepared to provide the security to the contestants and people. Recently, we performed well and succeeded in handling the security threats to the contestants in Panchayats and Municipal bodies. We are hopeful we will pass this challenge too and will provide the security to all.

Q: Shah Faesal has cited civilian killings as one of the reason for his resignation. How do you view it?

A: It is painful to see loosing lives and human rights violations in the state due to the militancy and counter militancy. But there has been a drastic decrease in the human rights violations and civilian killings since 1990s. Our effort is always to conduct the counter-militancy operations in neat and clean way.

Q: So, does it justify that Shah Faesal’s defiance on civilian killings is true.

A: I don’t want to comment on this.

Q: There have been recent grenade attacks in several areas in Srinagar? Is this creating a panic among public?

A: Jaish-o-Muhammad, a militant outfit has taken responsibility for this terrorist attack. We have arrested six suspects involved in the grenade attacks. We have busted their module and neutralized it. It was aimed to create panic and terror in the public. We are swift in neutralizing any such modules that are aiming to disrupt the peace in the valley.