Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today asked police personnel to ensure the surrender of more militants and desist from retaliatory action against their families. As a bait, the chief minister also announced doubling the reward money for those who get militants to surrender. Addressing a gathering at the Police Training School here, Mehbooba made it clear that militancy would not end by killing “four, eight, 50 or 100” militants but by taking people along and winning their hearts. “When you get an opportunity where a local militant is ready, before or during an encounter, to surrender… I will give you double the reward for bringing him back alive. “We have to try because killing a militant is easy but killing militancy is difficult,” she said in her address at the passing out parade of 696 constables at the school in Manigam, on the outskirts of Srinagar. Mehbooba also asked police to be different from militants and refrain from tit-for-tat action. The chief minister was referring to media reports claiming that security forces had entered the homes of some militants and threatened their family members.
She also referred to the incidents of October 17-18, when militants killed a PDP worker and burnt his house the next day. “Our worker was killed and then his house was set on fire. But I want to stress that there should be a difference between our actions and those of the militants. “Militants kill our people, police personnel and then they ransack their houses or set them on fire, but our forces – whether security forces or police – should not do such things.” We are the guardians of the law, she said.
“… so I should not get any complaint that when a militant was not caught, or he fled or ransacked some house, we did the same.” The police force, the chief minister stressed, was the protector of people unlike militants. “They may wear uniforms like you and have guns like you, but you are the protector of the lives of people and their properties… and they do the opposite so there is a huge difference between them and you.” Mehbooba also asked police personnel to play a constructive role in creating a peaceful atmosphere in the state.
“Before enforcing law among the people, you will first have to enforce the law among yourselves. You will have to follow the law and not compete with militants by doing what they do,” she said. The chief minister also lauded security forces for doing a commendable job in maintaining law and order. She referred to the number of army, paramilitary and police personnel who had lost their lives while fighting militants and said, “I am happy that the police did not lose its patience.”
Referring to incidents of braids being chopped in the state, Mehbooba said FIRs had been registered in all the cases and directed the police to act strictly against those trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the state. “Braid chopping started from Rajasthan, then in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab and there were thousands of cases… But when it happened in the state at places like Jammu, Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Poonch and then in Kashmir, we registered FIRs in every case.”
Mehbooba also expressed regret that mobs in many parts of the Valley were taking law into their own hands and beating people. “There are other incidents as well where the police want to investigate but people do not cooperate. People flee when asked for a blood sample to check the contents of the spray used by braid choppers as claimed by the people. “Those elements who spread rumours in braid chopping cases… are looking for an opportunity to vitiate the atmosphere. You will have to identify such elements and act very strictly against them and also understand why such incidents are happening and who is behind them,” she said.