SRINAGAR: In a live-streaming video interaction on Facebook, Kashmir Inspector-General of Police Muneer Khan said on Friday that anti-militancy operations had been badly affected due to continuing incidents of braid-chopping in the Valley.
“Militants and OGWs (Over-Ground Workers) are using this thing to their advantage. Our 99 percent resources are going into dealing with this problem and our anti-militancy operations have it suffered because of this,” Khan said.
Accusing the resistance leadership of taking advantage of the situation, Khan said that they were “using the situation to get out of the pressures they are under because of many things”, apparently referring to the raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Hurriyat leaders.
In response to a question that if police can deal with militants without needing public support, then why are they seeking public cooperation to solve cases of braid-chopping, Khan said that the police get great support from common people in anti-militancy operations. “We get information from the public itself. We get 90 percent of our information from public,” he said.
Asked why the police were not able to crack even a single case of braid-chopping, Khan said that that wherever they had evidence, they had “cracked” those cases.
“Wherever we got the evidence, we cracked those cases. In one case at Gulmarg, it was the maid who had cut the braid of a girl. In another case, a non-local domestic worker had chopped the braid because she was harassed by the house-owners. There was a case in which the lady had chopped her own braid twice due to some mental issues,” he said.
Referring to other Indian states where incidents of braid-cuttings had been reported, he said that scientific investigations there had revealed that it was just “mass hysteria” or “attention seeking”.
“However, in our state, especially in Kashmir, miscreants and anti-social elements are trying to use this situation to their advantage. There are so many motives which have surfaced. The vested interests are using it to their advantage. Innocent people, including those who are mentally challenged, are being manhandled (and) almost beaten to death,” Khan said. He warned of stern action against those involved in vigilantism and beating of innocents.
“We have identified those who are visible in recent videos manhandling innocents. We have made at least 8 arrests in Srinagar. Similar arrests have been made in Baramulla. Majority of them (arrested persons) have criminal background,” he said.
Khan said that the police were ready to join locals in night patrolling in areas where braid-chopping incidents had been reported. However, the police will join only those volunteers who are certified “bonafide” by mohalla committees, he said.
“We are ready for joint patrolling with local volunteers. We have held meetings in Kulgam, in Anantnag, where we have told people that police will help in patrolling,” he said. “But the joint venture will be only with those who are not miscreants but bonafide (as certified by) mohalla committees.”