SRINAGAR: Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti indirectly admitted that “disproportionate force” was used on thousands of people mourning the death of legendary Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on Saturday.
“Disproportionate use of force for crowd control results in loss of precious lives and grave injuries which should be avoided at all costs,” said an official spokesman, quoting Mehbooba.
She asked police and paramilitary troopers, the spokesman said, to follow Standard Operational Procedure laid for dealing with street protests.
Mehbooba had asked the government forces to follow the SOP when five civilians were killed in Kupwara in April in the aftermath of an alleged molestation of a minor girl by a soldier. However, despite her repeated insistence on adherence to SOP, the forces have been violating it. Mehbooba is the Home minister and chairperson of Unified Headquarters, the grid comprising army, paramilitary forces, intelligence agencies, police and civil administration.
“I express profound grief over the tragic death of the youths and extend my heart-felt condolences to the bereaved family members in their hour of immense grief,” Mehbooba said while appealing for calm and asking people to cooperate in restoration of normality.
“Violence only brings miseries to the people and tragedies for the victim families,” she said, and appealed people, especially the youth, “not to fall prey to the machinations of the vested interests who play politics over the dead bodies of Kashmiris.”
She also prayed for early recovery of the injured including civilians and the police personnel and asked the health authorities to provide best possible treatment to them, the spokesman said.
Government will stand firm: Ram Madhav on Kashmir situation
While Mehbooba admitted the government forces used disproportionate force and expressed condolences with the families of the people killed in street protests, her ally BJP talked tough, with its leader Ram Madhav saying the “government will stand firm, eruption or no eruption”.
“Government WILL stand firm, eruption or no eruption (sic),” he said in a tweet.
“We will always try, be it the state government or the central government, to work for peace and security of the common man of the Valley and also to create atmosphere for development of the state.
An uncompromising fight against terrorism is part of it and important,” he later said.
Madhav, a party general secretary, is the organisation’s pointsman for the state.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh, who is MP from Udhampur, praised the security forces and appealed for peace saying all sections of society must come together in the fight against terrorism, regardless of their political ideology.
“We are proud of our security forces.
They have achieved a major success on the counter terrorism front”, Singh told reporters in Jammu.
“The fight against terrorism is universal and it has to be fought collectively and all sections of society regardless of their ideology must come together and unitedly fight it,” he said.
“We appeal for maintenance of peace.
The fight against terrorism is collective and requires a united effort of all stake holders in J&K,” he added.
On providing security at living places for minorities, including colonies of Kashmiri Pandit employees in the Valley, he said, “The protection and safety of these places is responsibility of the Government and society.
They should be provided full security.”