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Death, whether of militant or security personnel, brings no joy: DGP

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Rules out large presence of IS in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 02: There is no joy in any death in a counter-insurgency operations, be it of security personnel or a militant, police chief Dilbagh Singh said Wednesday.

He also ruled out any large presence of Islamic State (IS) group in Kashmir, but claimed that the youth were being ‘radicalised’ through its ideology.

Addressing an annual press conference here, Singh, who took over as Director General of Police (DGP) in September last year, said the number of incidents of violence in Kashmir was higher in 2018 compared to the previous year as “militant groups in Pakistan kept the pot boiling by pushing in militants from across the border”.

However, he said any death during counter-insurgency operations, be it of a militant, government forces’ personnel or a civilian, was nothing to boast about.

"Despite our efforts, some youth joined the militancy and some were killed also. We feel sad about it, we regret it. It is no source of joy for us. We are in an atmosphere of violence and violence begets violence.

"In such circumstances, we have to undertake counter-insurgency operations. Whether a militant, a soldier, a policeman or a civilian gets killed in such operations, it cannot be something to be lauded. It would not be good if it is considered as a success," he said.

Singh said while statistically, the large number of militants killed during the past year might be a success, it was sad that several government forces’ personnel were also killed.

He said 91 government forces’ personnel, including 45 police personnel and 30 soldiers, were killed in the Valley last year. As many as 44 civilians were also "brutally killed by the militants” during the year, the DGP said.

Singh said government forces undertook 97 counter-insurgency operations last year out of which 83 operations were clean with no collateral damage.

"The number of incidents of violence were more in 2018 compared to the previous year. It was more because of the attempts by the country across the border to instigate the youth ... These attempts continued in full flow through the year," he said.

The police chief said “attempts to lure local youths into militancy continued” even as Pakistan-based militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad “continued to infiltrate their cadre into the Valley”.

Conceding that the “extremist ideology” of IS group is “radicalising the youth” here, the DGP said in the past also there have been incidents wherein youth were seen carrying those (IS) flags and displaying them publicly to show that there is a very large presence of such elements.

“We would again say that presence (of IS) is not that big, but the fact that people are being radicalised on those lines that can’t be denied,” Singh said while addressing a news conference in Srinagar.

“Kashmir civil society has been an open society, a very secular kind of culture where we extend due respect to our places of worship. Such efforts (of radicalisation) had been made at various quarters and their expression has been seen in the kind of activities we saw other day (at Jama Masjid),” the DGP said.

A group of masked young men had stormed into the historic Jamia Masjid with IS flags and created a ruckus on Friday, provoking condemnation from the mosque's management committee as well as political leaders.

The incident occurred after the congregational prayers, when the mosque was nearly empty. The men were chased away by the devotees present. A video of the incident went viral on the social media the next day.

Referring to some of the allegations against high-handedness of police, he said, "There were some aberrations and we will try to address those issues. We had lot of support from the people and would like to thank them for it."

On the policing front, Singh said the profile of police constabulary was changing as more and more educated youth were joining the force.

"During my recent visit to Kathua, I saw two PhD, 125 post-graduates and 300 graduates undergoing training as constable. We have more educated youth joining the force and it will reflect in policing," he said.

The DGP said the department is planning to have a woman component of police personnel at all police stations to encourage female complainants to approach them.

While police personnel make all efforts to be friendly with the people, "we would also expect the people to be friendly with us. The cops should be spared the brickbats, which are generally showered on us," Singh said.

He said the internet shutdowns during law and order situations had become a compulsion. "We know people suffer, our own communication suffers but there have been instances where minor issues were blown out of proportion using social media, which is a uncontrolled and unguided tool available to everybody. We will still try to minimise the internet shutdowns."

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