Governor Satya Pal Malik Sunday said the feedback he has got from heads of various security agencies suggests that the army and the Central Reserve Police Force “can’t handle Kashmir situation without the involvement of Jammu and Kashmir police.” He also said that the recently-concluded Urban Local Body elections remained peaceful and wherever stone-pelters tried to throw stones at polling booths, “they were attacked back by voters in a similar fashion.”
Addressing police commemoration day, Malik said that J&K police “was the best police force in India.”
“I have travelled to all the states of India. I was Governor of Bihar earlier. I have grown up in Uttar Pradesh and I can tell this with full authority that J&K police is the best among the lot. I salute the professionalism and bravery being displayed by the policemen here,” Malik said.
He said in his two-month stint so far as the J&K’s Governor, he observed “policemen performing their duties in a most professional manner despite working under tremendous pressure.”
“If we talk about the recent threats (abductions), policemen and their families bore the brunt, but there was no change in their commitment,” the Governor said. Malik said that being the head of the State, he keeps on discussing the situation with top army and CRPF officers. “They told me that it was not possible to deal with the situation in Kashmir without police,” the Governor said.
He said that there were certain genuine issues of policemen which needed urgent attention including making ex-gratia of policemen killed in line of duty at par with the central forces.
“I told the J&K police chief to make whatever is possible from their own funds first. So it became around Rs 70 lakh. I recently met home minister Rajnath Singh and requested him to make the amount Rs one crore,” he said. “The home minister has agreed in principle. So the amount would be paid to the next of kin (NoKs) of policemen who are killed on duty.”
The Governor said that similarly, the ex-gratia for families of Special Police Officers was Rs 30 lakh. “I have requested Home Minister to make it Rs 50 lakh,” he said.
The Governor said that every village and the entry point should “have a statue of every martyr from the police or the other forces.”
Later, talking to reporters, Governor said that the ULB elections were held in “most peaceful manner.”
“Credit goes to the police force. There were stray incidents of stone pelting where stone pelters were engaged by voters, who also pelted stones,” he said. Asked when the Assembly polls will be held in the State, the Governor said that it was not his mandate.
“It is the Government of India and the Election Commission who would decide about holding Assembly polls in J&K,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state police chief Dilbagh Singh said Sunday that the overall situation in Kashmir was peaceful and both stone throwing protests as well recruitment of youth into militant groups was “down.” Singh said this year, 46 policemen including some officers were killed “in the line of duty.”
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of police commemoration day at armed police complex Zewan here, the DGP said there were certain pockets where militants operate and they were being dealt accordingly.
“Overall situation is peaceful. Stone pelting has gone down and there is a sharp decline in the local recruitment of youth into various militant groups,” the DGP said. “Youth are now joining sports activities.” The police chief said, except some incidents like the one witnessed recently at Shadimarg, Pulwama where a pregnant lady was killed, the “law and order situation has improved.” “Militants shouldn’t target forces at the places where there are chances of civilian casualties,” Singh said.