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.
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”.