Srinagar: Maintaining that Al Qaeda’s extremist ideology had no takers in Kashmir, Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid said on Thursday that government forces were following Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) during encounters with militants. However he expressed his helplessness in dealing with stone-throwing civilian protestors.
Talking to media persons at the District Police Lines here, Vaid maintained that he recognised that Al Qaeda was an ideology but said it was one without takers in Kashmir.
“Al Qaeda is an ideology, a thought… it (must) influence Zakir Musa,” he said. “But in my view it is inimical to the culture of Kashmir. People (here) won’t like this (thought) and, ultimately, they (i.e., the likes of Musa) will be isolated.”
After parting ways with the Hizbul Mujahideen, Musa has formed his own group, and police claim that at least five armed rebels have joined him. More recently, Musa was declared chief of a little-known Al Qaeda-affiliated cell, the Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind.
The DGP said the police were taking steps to see that “arms are not snatched from cops and are not placed in wrong hands”. He referred to the unsuccessful rifle-snatching bid at Charar-i-Sharif earlier this week to support his claim.
“Youth must not go astray and take up arms,” he added. “SOP is followed during (anti-militant) operations.
“But unfortunately, a civilian was killed in Tral (on Wednesday),” he said. “What can security forces (personnel do) when a huge number of youth attack a security forces camp by stones?
“Otherwise,” he added, “there are instructions that minimum force should be used (against protestors)… Pellet gun is the last resort.”
The DGP further said that routine life remains unaffected in Kashmir. “It is our endeavour to make Kashmir free of violence; terrorism has been put onto our neck from across (the Line of Control); (we are trying that) peaceful people are able to spend their lives here… that children go to schools… business does its work, tourism runs smoothly,” he said.
“Operation ‘All Out’ is part of that (endeavour),” he said. “If anyone who has gone astray and wants to come back, get disarmed and live an honourable life, he will be given a full chance and is most welcome. But if he opens fire, then security forces will take (action) against him,” he said.
On the issue of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raids on businessmen, the DGP said, “Businessmen who deal with this (hawala) money… who have used foreign money… NIA will slowly investigate it,” he said referring to the NIA raids and the interrogation of Kashmiri businessmen in alleged ‘terror funding’.
“Once the investigation starts, it is to be taken to (its) end; (in its course,) many other issues crop up, and I believe NIA is investigating that,” he said.