Editorial: Highhandedness is not acceptable

Reports of an ugly incident that saw army personnel beating up police officials in North Kashmir’s Kupwara have yet again painted a picture of highhandedness by some personnel of the army, even while dealing with the police.

According to reports two policemen, including the Station House Officer (SHO), were beaten by army soldiers near Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Kupwara, two days ago. The Army personnel reportedly thrashed the policemen following a scuffle. One of them, Shabir Ahmad ‘Munshi’ was beaten severely and was later taken to sub district hospital in Kupwara.

It is alleged that the policeman was targeted after he intervened to save a civilian and protested irksome behaviour of the army personnel with a civilian,  who was asked to come out of his vehicle outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

The incident triggered widespread condemnations of the alleged behaviour by the army personnel by public at large. People on the social media asked, if they don’t spare police, what about us, they asked.

Earlier, a similar incident has happened in Ganderbal district wherein a group of army personnel had allegedly ransacked a police station in Gund and left many police personnel bruised.

The incident had occurred when the soldiers who were in civil dress barged into the police station and beat up the police men including officers and even ransacked the station. The alleged provocation being that police personnel on duty had stopped them while they were travelling at midnight on the Amarnath Yatra route which was against the standard security procedure drill.

While police, army and CRPF have shown unison and synergy when it comes to counter insurgency operations across the state, the incidents like Kupwara and Ganderbal show that highhandedness and indiscipline does exist in some cases.

While in Gund case, top police officials had conveyed their displeasure to the top brass of army who intern had assured strict action against erring personnel. But that doesn’t seem to have served as a lesson for those involved in the Kupwara incident.

Though many would term such incidents as aberrations, the army top brass must act against such personnel and set an example so that even aberrations like this don’t happen ever again.

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