Srinagar: Announcing that she would double the award money for the police if they convince local militants to surrender during or before an encounter, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday asked the police to not attack families of militants.
“There should be a difference between militants and the police,” Mufti said while addressing policemen at Police Training School Manigam in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
“Police should not attack militants’ families like the militants are attacking policemen’s families,” she said.
She said that recently a worker of her party (Peoples Democratic Party) was killed by militants and his house burnt.
“Still, I stress upon one thing: that there should be a difference in the working of militants and of us. Militants kill us, they martyr policemen. But our forces should not reciprocate in the same manner. We are protectors and upholders of law,” she said.
Referring to reported attacks on houses and families of militants, Mehbooba said that she should not receive such complaints in the future.
“May be it is our security forces or police (who have done this), but we should not do this. I should not hear that because a militant escaped, or because militants ransacked our houses, that is why we have to go and do ransacking (of their houses),” she said.
Recently, government forces allegedly ransacked houses of militants in south Kashmir’s Shopian and Tral areas. The families also alleged that the soldiers beat the inmates.
In retaliation, militants have attacked and ransacked houses of several policemen, including of a senior officer, in parts of Pulwama and Kulgam districts. The militants also left a terse warning that if their houses or families are targeted, they would target PDP workers and leaders.
Referring to the recently appointed interlocutor for holding talks in Kashmir, Mehbooba said that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have taken a big step towards having a dialogue with Kashmiris.
“Our prime minister has the mandate of the people of India. They want to take Kashmir out of its problems by opening channels of dialogue. The interlocutor has been given the rank of cabinet secretary. It is a big step. This has never happened in the past,” she said.
The BJP-led NDA government on Monday appointed Dineshwar Sharma, former Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB), as interlocutor for Kashmir.
She said now the responsibility of police has increased and they have to help “make the situation conducive” (for talks).
She said her government was committed to providing benefits to police for working in challenging circumstances. “We have sorted out the pay anomalies. We have increased the ration money,” she said.
Mehbooba said that the Jammu and Kashmir Police was facing enormous challenges. “In order to meet them, we want modernisation in the police. We want to give modern weapons and training,” she said.
“We have given proposals to the centre for five thousand residential quarters for the police. Out of that number, three thousand will be constructed in Kashmir and two thousand in Jammu. Whenever you require, you can live in those secured quarters. We have seen in the past that political workers were attacked, so were the houses of police. You need not be apprehensive,” she said.
The chief minister stated that militants may try to copy the police by wearing their uniform or that of a commando, but they cannot become so. “A militant can’t protect the law. They can wear your uniform and carry your weapons, but they can’t replace you,” Mufti told the policemen. “You are the protectors of law. There is a difference between you and them.”
The chief minister said that if the police convince local militants during or before the encounter for surrender, she would double their prize money.
“The killing of militants is easy,” she said. “But the wiping out of militancy is difficult. I will double the award if you convince the militant for surrender. We have to understand that we can’t end militancy if we do not take the people along. We have to take people along and win their hearts. If we anger the people, the militancy will not stop. Killing eight, 50 and 100 militants will not end militancy.”