Srinagar: Emphasising that the aim of “Operation All-Out” was not restricted to the killing of militants, but involved also efforts to bring back local youths who have joined militant ranks, Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid told reporters on Sunday. He said police were examining cases of 5,500 youth who are slated to be released under the amnesty scheme announced by the government.
“Operation All-Out does not mean we want to kill all terrorists,” Vaid said at a media interaction in Srinagar. “The Jammu Kashmir Police is drawn from local people. Our whole thrust on ensuring the return of peace here. Our priority is that people should live in a situation which is free of fear.”
The DGP, who addressed the press conference along with Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range, Munir Khan, said that it was a “misconception” that killing militants was the sole aim of Operation All-Out.
“The killing of terrorists is one part of the operation. Another major part is the bringing back of our youth back from the clutches of militants. We will counsel and rehabilitate our misguided youth once they drop their weapons,” Vaid said.
“Due to our efforts,” he said, “74 youth were brought back from the trap of terrorism. Police are counselling the children. Besides, many parents are appealing to their children to come back home. So far, seven children have returned after heeding the appeal of their parents.”
Vaid said that militancy will remain in Kashmir “as long as our neighbour will continue to send people (here)”.
In response to a question that local youths were continuing to join militant ranks, Vaid said that such a notion was untrue, as this trend had come down drastically.
“In the year 2017, 206 terrorists were neutralised, of which 85 were locals and 121 foreign terrorists,” Vaid said.
Responding to another question over civilian killings, IGP Munir Khan claimed that 24 civilians were killed in Kashmir in cross-fire between government forces and militants.
“As far as civilian casualties are concerned, you must be knowing that this year we started operating in all areas. There were areas where police could not enter and would face stiff resistance. So, during the course of encounters, there were some causalities during the cross-firing,” Khan said.
“We have already issued instructions that people should avoid going to the areas where there is an encounter going on. If they do, mishaps and causalities will occur,” the IGP said.
He also said that the main focus of the police has been to target the militant leadership, as they were involved in recruiting local youth into militancy.
The DGP stated that police had been able to professionally investigate militancy-related cases. He cited the investigation into the attack on Amaranth pilgrims as a prominent example. He also refuted claims that police were going slow against Zakir Moosa, the self-proclaimed leader of Al-Qaeda in Kashmir.
“For us, anybody who is the enemy of peace shall be dealt with firmly,” Vaid said.
The DGP claimed that the situation in Kashmir was turning normal and first-time stone-pelters and protesters were being granted amnesty.
“Those children who are first-timers and were not involved in heinous crimes will be considered. These children were lured into such activities,” Vaid said. “We do not want to ruin their careers, but want that they should pursue their studies.”
Providing statistics, the police said that in the years 2008 and 2009, 634 youth were given amnesty in 104 cases registered against them.
“From the year 2010 to 2014, the police reviewed the cases of 4,327 youth who were booked in 744 cases. We have been pursuing their cases in the courts,” the DGP said.
“The same committee has been authorised to grant amnesty to 5,500 children who were booked during 2016-2017. We are examining the cases and we will give the reports to the government soon,” he said.
Another area that the police were focused on, the DGP said, was crimes against women. Police filed 3,168 cases related to women’s issues, Vaid said.
“We have already six women police stations. Four more have been sanctioned by the government. We have deployed another 150 lady constables to deal with women’s issues,” Vaid said.
The police also focused on community policing and held 1,704 public meetings during which they addressed people’s concerns, Vaid said. “We want that police should become a catalyst in solving issues of people,” he said.
The police completed one-lakh thirty-thousand passport verifications and also 20,000 service notifications and verifications of 2,163 LOC permits, Vaid informed.
The DGP said that the union home ministry approved special grants for Kashmir police under which various welfare measures have been undertaken. “One of the measures will be to build 5,000 housing quarters for police personnel,” he said.
Besides, he said, various welfare measures were taken for youth of Kashmir. “We have started a war against drug peddlers. We want to save our youth from this menace,” Vaid said. “We have drug de-addiction centers in Srinagar and Jammu, which are working well. We will open more such centers.”