Militancy linked to law and order

Militancy linked to law and order

Kashmir Magazine

Muneer Khan, an IPS officer of 1994 batch is known to be one of the top counter militancy specialists in Jammu and Kashmir state. Known for holding territorial positions like district SPs in key districts like Srinagar and Baramulla, Khan has also held the position of DIG north Kashmir, IGP Crime, IGP Traffic and IGP Kashmir zone before taking over the charge as Additional Director General Police security and law and order. He spoke to The Kashmir Magazine Editor M Aslam on the present security situation and the challenges Jammu and Kashmir police faces this time.

The excerpts of the interview are detailed below:


The Kashmir Magazine: What about the present situation vis-à-vis Municipal, Panchayat elections?


Muneer Khan: Present situation is seen in the light of upcoming Municipal and Panchayat elections, I would like to say that since the Municipal and Panchayat elections are being held after a very long time, the atmosphere for this massive electoral exercise does not seem conducive to the people as otherwise the atmosphere for polls is very much conducive. No doubt militancy is more intensifying in south Kashmir districts than other parts of Kashmir valley but at the same time fact remains that anti-militancy operations have been successful during which many top commanders of pro-active militant groups have been killed and the situation has improved a lot.


TKM: What about the security of people contesting municipal and panchayat elections before and after the elections?


MK: The number of candidates for Panchayat and Municipal elections unlike assembly and parliamentary elections is very large and the number of candidates for ongoing civic elections is in thousands. The candidates have to be provided security but police can’t provide security to every individual. The strategy for incidental and cluster security arrangements is being given a serious thought and once the Municipal and Panchayat elections are over the security of the all contestants will be reviewed. Presently the candidates contesting municipal and panchayat elections have been lodged in hired hotels already guarded by the police and para militaries.


TKM: Had the government not taken into view the security situation before taking a final decision on the conduct of municipal and panchayat elections in the state?


MK: Sensitive decisions like the conduct of municipal and panchayat elections are always taken after serious thinking and consultations with all concerned. Before taking the final decision to conduct elections all concerned including civil administration and security agencies were taken on board.


TKM: Why to conduct elections in the present situation?


MK: The municipal and panchayat elections are being held to empower people at the grass roots and delegates the powers to local representatives to oversee the implementation of civic facilities to the local populations. This time when the civic bodies are not in place people come with complaints concerning civic facilities to deputy commissioners, directors, police officers and advisors but after the civic elections people won’t have to come to officers and officials as elected representatives will get their complaints addressed at the local level.


TKM: Why alienation among youth is increasing?


MK: Before replying your question, I have a counter question that isn’t social media being used irresponsibly by vested interests to glorify militancy and instigate radicalization among youth in Kashmir. Surrounding atmosphere in civilian populations, education in educational institutions and parental guidance are the main factors for increasing alienation among youth. Police is counseling youth to bring about a change in their behavior and mindset while this job was to be performed by teachers and parents. The energies of youth have to be channelized for sports and extracurricular activities and people from all sections of the society have to contribute in shaping the future of youth.


TKM: Why youth are distancing themselves from the police?


MK: Police is facing the brunt of militancy since 1989. Police belongs to the society from where militants emerge but the people of a particular school of thought are provoking youth against police. Jammu and Kashmir Police is a professional and disciplined force known for carrying out several tasks in securing the future of people. Police is involved in anti-militancy operations but police is also coming out to undertake relief operations whenever there is flood or earthquake and so police deserves the respect for the services it renders to the people even during the times when natural calamities throws up human challenges.


TKM: What about new orders on working of SPOs?


MK: PSOs deployed for security with protected persons have to dump their weapons in nearest police stations and units the moment they proceed on leave. No protected person is authorized to allow his/her PSO on leave but a proper procedure has to be followed. Under rules the PSOs of protected persons have to apply for leave to the competent authorities so that replacements can be provided to the protected persons. Procedures are not followed and a new order has been issued to bring about accountability in the working of SPOs and PSOs as well.


TKM: Police is presently facing allegations of avenge. How would you like to react to this allegation?


MK: Police believes in constitution and criminal procedure act but it can’t even think of taking revenge from others. People are arrested for committing unlawful offensives and challans are produced before the courts. The arrests of some of the relations of some active militants were painted a different colour and cooked up stories were spread. Police does not believe in the policy revenge.


TKM: What are your views on lobbyism in police?


MK: I have been myself in active service in the police department now for last thirty five years but we in the police department have no concept about lobbyism. We work like a team with the spirit of public service. Anti-militancy is an unlawful activity and police can’t spare those engaged in militancy. Militancy can’t be separated from the police.


TKM: Can’t militancy be separated from law and order?


MK: No, militancy can’t be separated from law and order. Militancy is an unlawful activity and presently militancy is linked with the law and order situation as the youth are disrupting anti-militancy operations which is the job of police. The situation is not like 1990 when militancy was the only challenge and youth were not coming in the way of police during anti-militancy operations. Today militancy and law and order have become inter connected issues as youth try to disrupt anti-militancy operations by hurling stones on forces during the encounters.


TKM: Any headway in investigation in army loot case after the fleeing of an SPO from the residence of PDP MLA from Jawahar Nagar?


MK: The fleeing of SPO with seven rifles was a big offensive and incident should not have been happened. I admit there are flaws in the recruitment of SPOs as SPOs are engaged without following a proper verification and recruitment process. We are looking into all the loopholes and the issues will be addressed accordingly.


TKM: The separatists are being stopped from performing religious duties at religious places, why so?


MK: This is not at all endeavor to stop anyone from attending religious duties at religious places but vested interests are instigating law and order complications and police is forced to take care of the law and order situation for maintaining peace and order. No compromise on maintaining of peace and order around the religious places is concerned.