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Changing rules of game

The highly controversial action of the state police against the kin of the active militants in south Kashmir has raised several important questions that need serious consideration by those at the helm of the affairs of the state. Last week nearly a dozen family members and close relations of the police personnel were abducted by the militants, in retaliation to the arrest of their kin by the police, in a bid to exert moral pressure on the rebels. Though all these abductees were released unharmed within 36 hours by the kidnappers with a warning to the police personnel against their indefensible actions. Least to say it was the police that acted in a decent manner as their fight is supposed to be against the militants active across south Kashmir and not their family members. The police action was against all norms and to say the least immoral and evil.

It is an established fact that root of insurgency has always been in the injustice and suppression by the state. In Kashmir it is more true that in other states. The militancy in Kashmir was a direct outcome of the unprecedented rigging by the state in 1986 assembly elections and the subsequent reign of terror let loose by the state against the youth who participated in the electoral process and supported the side that was shown as having defeated. Unfortunately, instead of dealing with the situation with a human approach, New Delhi decided for using its military might. A problem that happens to be purely a political one was turned into a ‘mutiny’ and to fight it out, military power was used instead of taking political measures that could heal the wounds of the people and help in winning back their hearts and minds.

No doubt the state police, in recent years has offered huge sacrifices in defending the state and fighting against the militants but that in any case does not empower or authorise the state to change the rules of the game and indulge in criminal and fascist acts like arresting family members and close relations of the active militants. Police or for that matter any other unit of the force active on the ground have no right to do so and whoever does it deserves nothing but strong condemnation and stern action by the state.

It  may be mentioned here that state police happens to be having the second largest number of personnel on its roll, comprising some 31,000 Special Police Officers (SPOs) in addition to the regular forces of over 90,000 men. In south Kashmir that presently is worst affected by the militancy, there are over 20, 000 police families and while some 300 odd youth have joined the ranks of the militants in past three years, the number of youth who got recruited in the police from this part is estimated to be nearly two thousand during the same period. However the police action against the militant families and subsequent retaliation by the rebels is said to be adversely affect that fresh recruitment in the police and that has become a cause of serious concern among the top authorities.

On a positive side, the state governor S P Malik is said to have taken a strong exception to the unwarranted and unjustified police action and if the media reports in this regard are believed it was on the intervention of the Raj Bhavan that family members of the militants arrested by the police were ordered to be freed that led to the subsequent release of those kidnapped by the militants, in retaliation. The Raj Bhavan has rightly directed the concerned authorities to desist from over reacting to the threats of militants to the police personnel as that would not only add to the panic but also lead to a situation that would be difficult to be dealt with.