By HAROON RESHI
SRINAGAR: Former police officers have taken umbrage over a campaign to paint the police force as “anti-national” in the wake of recent happenings in the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar. They say that the campaign has pained them and belittled their efforts put in during the toughest phase of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
On several televisions talk shows and over the social networking sites, Kashmir police is being harshly criticized for taking action against the NIT’s outstation students who tried a violent march with carrying Indian flag outside the campus last week.
Several students got injured by police cane charge after their refusal to disperse.BJP has termed the police against the non-Kashmiri students as ‘an uncalled for act’. On BJP’s demand state government replaced the police deployments with paramilitary CRPF at the campus.
As some serving police officers have openly expressed anger against labelling the local police as “anti-national” or “a jehadi force”, retired cops too expressed their resentment over the terminology used against the constabulary.
“Those who are trying to label Kashmir police as anti-national should know that it is the same force who sacrificed lives to keep the Indian flag flying high in Kashmir. This force has lost more than 1500 people and an equal number of policemen have sustained injuries, while fighting the militancy since 1990.” Israr Ahmad Khan, retired SSP told Kashmir Reader.
Recalling his days as a junior police officer at Kothibagh police station in early 1990s, Khan said that the outstation officers serving in intelligence agencies like RAW and IB would not dare to come out of guarded police stations. “It was only the Kashmir police who bravely tackled the dangerous situation. They should feel shame for raising finger at the Kashmir police force and tagging them with ridiculous phrases,” he said.
Khan justified police action against agitating NIT students. “Had the police allowed the students to march, they might have been attacked somewhere. This is not for the first time when police used lathi-charge on the violent students. We do it against the local students too when they try to create law and order situation,” he said.
Former police officers also resent authorities announcement to take action against police officers responsible for taking action against the agitating students. “Such an action can demoralize the entire force,” GR Mir, a former superintendent of Police said. “It is ironical that Kashmir Police is becoming target of the political victimization,” Mir said.
Abdul Qayoom Manhas, another former police officer observed that the NIT incident has been blown out of proportion and a small law and order problem has been stretched out to a national level debate.Manhas is furious against those who are accusing Kashmir police for a biased and anti-national behavior.
“Those who are labelling Kashmir police as anti-national might have been hiding like rats, had this force not performed its duty during all these years,” Manhas told Kashmir Reader.
Many former police officers are convinced that those accusing Kashmir police of being anti-national are actually trying to serve their political agendas.
“Kashmir police is being targeted by the hate-mongers for petty political gains. Some people are trying to exploit the NIT incident for their interests and that is why police is being labelled with such accusations,” former SSP AR Badana said.
The police officers also decry attempts to paint the NIT issue on communal lines.
“Police is meant for maintaining law and order and it did the same at NIT campus. Policemen do not see the religion or any other identity while tackling the trouble shooters,” former DIG, ND Wani told Kashmir Reader.
“J&K Police is not comprised of Muslims only. The attempts to disturb the communal harmony of the force will have dangerous repercussions,” Manhas said.