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IGP lists out achievements of J&K Police in 2021

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Describes ‘successfull management’ of Geelani's death biggest achievement; says, 171 militants killed; 82 ‘terrorists or terror associates’ besides 597 over-ground workers (OGWs) arrested

Srinagar: Maintaining law and order following the death of Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani in September “despite Pakistan’s instigation” was the biggest achievement of J&K Police in 2021, a top police official said on Friday.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar also said the killing of the maximum top commanders of various militant outfits as well as “no strike calls” by Hurriyat were the other main achievements of the force in the Valley in 2021.

“The biggest achievement has been the burial management of Geelani. We were preparing for the last 10 years. We were under tremendous tension. Pakistan and separatists here (in Kashmir) were preparing for mobilising people, taking out protests.

“(But), there was no stone-pelting, no one was injured. The biggest contribution was of the people who cooperated with us,” Kumar told reporters at a press conference here.

Listing out the achievements of the J&K Police in 2021, he said 171 militants were killed, including 19 Pakistanis, in the year.

“Eighty-two terrorists or terror associates were arrested, 597 over-ground workers (OGWs) were also arrested. About 127 rifles and 167 pistols were recovered,” the IGP said.

The security forces also recovered or destroyed 11 IEDs and busted 10 militant hideouts, he said.

Kumar said about 168 militants are active in the Valley — 85 local and 83 foreigners — which is almost the same proportion and has happened for the first time in the recent years.

“In north Kashmir, 65 terrorists are active which includes 53 FTs (foreign terrorists). In central Kashmir, 16 including seven FTs, and in the south, 87 including 23 FTs, are active,” he said.

The number of security forces personnel killed in 2021 was 57, but only 29 were killed in the militancy-related violence in Kashmir, Kumar said.

“This includes nine JKP personnel,” he added.

“I am pained as Kashmir police chief that this year more policemen were killed in my tenure. But, at the same time, I am happy that all the cases of attacks on security forces have been solved, except one in Bandipora,” he said.

Kumar said last year, 167 youths had joined militancy, while this year it was 128.

“Out of 128, 30 were killed within a month of their joining,” he added.

Pointing to the law and order situation, he said while 147 “law and order incidents” took place in 2020, it was 64 in 2021.

“This even as there has been instigation from mainstream politicians, Hurriyat on little things by spreading rumours. But, I want to give credit to the general public here as they did not allow the law and order to deteriorate,” he said.

The Kashmir police chief said 34 civilians — 21 local and six outsiders — were killed by militants this year in the Valley.

Among the 21, seven were political workers, he said, adding “all such cases have been solved”.

He, however, said during his tenure as the IGP Kashmir, “not a single civilian was killed” in law and order incident.

“Only one innocent civilian killing took place near the encounter sites,” Kumar said.

In 2021, 9,227 persons were taken into preventive detention, 438 cases under UA(P)A were registered and 458 persons were under custody or were arrested, he said.

Kumar, however, said there are many challenges for the security forces in 2022 which included the prevention of policemen from becoming soft targets of militants.

Narcotics, cyber crime are the other challenges, he added.

The IGP said ‘Hybrid’ militants was another challenge for the security apparatus in the Valley.

“We will focus on technology, analyse social media. So far, we have identified 25 persons as ‘hybrid militants’. It will remain a focus,” he stressed.

Kumar said the forces will try to motivate, using families, the “less threatened youth” including those who are “hybrid” militants, to surrender to come back to the mainstream.

“We try to make the militants surrender, but if they do not, then we will arrest or neutralise them in encounters…We have put on hold many operations just to provide an opportunity to youth to surrender.

“J&K Police does not need to fight the militancy by killing the militants. We will use every modus operandi to neutralise a militant which includes, surrender, arrest, etc,” he said.

He hit out at the mainstream politicians in the Valley for trying to “instigate” the people, even as he said the political leaders or media do not have a right to term the police investigation as wrong and only court can decide that.

“Some political party leaders, some section of media, keep on saying that the situation has not improved. Some have gone to the extent of saying that the situation was like 1990s. The factual data on the ground shows that whatever they are saying is wrong. There has been much improvement in the situation,” the IGP told reporters at a press conference where only selected media persons were invited.

Giving details, he said, last year, 238 terror incidents took place in Kashmir, while only 192 happened this year.

“The number of civilians killed last year was 37, while it was 34 this year, even as the militants openly instigated that they will kill civilians, political workers and forces. And just to hide their terror crime, legitimise it, they call them informers. We took several preventive measures to protect the people,” he said.

He said some politicians were “legitimising” the killings of civilians and policemen, and added it was a challenge for the security forces.

“Unfortunately, we see some politicians also legitimising the killings. What was the need to highlight the encounter of the dreaded terrorist (TRF commander) Mehran (Shalla) with his photo and say it was cruel, there is a human rights violation. He killed many civilians.

“Is it wrong to kill a terrorist like (TRF chief) Abbas (Sheikh) in an encounter? Why show sympathy with him. This is wrong? I want to tell the politicians, request them to stop this, that this is wrong, you are destroying the youth, the society,” he said.

When asked about National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah terming the police’s special investigation team (SIT)’s investigation into Hyderpora encounter as “wrong”, Kumar said while the politicians have a right to not be satisfied with an investigation and demand a probe on a higher level, they have no right to term the inquiry as wrong.

“This is a democratic set up and media persons, politicians and the families have the right to not be satisfied with the investigation and seek a higher-level probe thorough the NIA, CBI, High Court. We do not have any objection to that. But, only court can decide whether any investigation is wrong,” he said.

The IGP said the SIT investigated the incident and will frame a chargesheet which then it will submit to the court which will take a judicial review.

“A judge will decide whether the investigation is wrong or not. No politician, family member or media person can do that or say it is concocted, they have no such right,” he said.

Referring to Abdullah, Kumar said the NC president has been a chief minister under whom the Home department falls and so he understands what policing is.

Continuing his tirade against the mainstream politicians in the Valley, the IGP said some political leaders questioned the use of the term “Hybrid” militants by J&K Police – militants who carry out attacks and then go on with their normal activities.

“The fact remains that police coined the term in January 2021, the Goggle has also accepted it… We identify them from their digital signature. This is a challenge and will remain so. So far, we have identified 25 of them,” he said.

The Kashmir Police chief also took a dig at the New Delhi-based media for talking about the impact of the spillover of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

“The people, the media talked much about new recruitment, many articles were written by Delhi media that there will be spurt (in militancy in Kashmir) after the Taliban takeover. But, by the support of the people, the families, we have been able to stop it to a large extent,” he said.

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