"The key short- term policy that needs to be put in place is the creation of a special police force for the Valley which is trained and mentally conditioned to deal with crowds, rather than militants. A word of caution here; it took the Union government several decades of communal riots to establish a special force to deal with it— the Rapid Action Force.
But the crowd control force that Kashmir needs requires an entirely different laundry list of equipment, training and personnel. It is not a matter of equipment alone. After all Tufail Mattoo whose June 11 death reportedly triggered off the current unrest died after being hit by a spent tear- gas shell, a non- lethal munition as such. People can die of pepper gun shots, if hit at close range, and it is a fact that many young boys may have drowned while trying to escape a police charge."
Here is a report from Greater Kashmir on the DGP's annual press meet. It seems that people have been thinking on those lines.
Back in August 2010 at the height of the stone pelting in Srinagar I had written ( for the whole article see http://mjoshi.blogspot.com/2010/08/there-are-options-on-jammu-kashmir-but.html :
Separatists fund, fuel unrest: DGP
‘Everyone Knows Harsh Reality Behind Political Killings’
SYED AMJAD SHAH
Jammu, Jan 3: Blaming the separatists for funding and fuelling stone-pelting in the Valley, the state police chief Kuldeep Khoda Monday said that 207 persons were detained for stone-pelting during the summer unrest out of whom 55 were booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).
Khoda said that everyone in Kashmir knows the harsh realities of political killings and it was the right time for the ‘right thinking’ and ‘truth speaking’ people to come forward and tell the ‘reality’ to the people, which will be helpful for restoring peace in trouble hit-state.
“A senior Hurriyat leader spoke the truth and has vindicated our stand. The right thinking and truth speaking people should come forward so that people get to know about the reality. They should tell people about the truth and it could prove helpful in restoring peace and normalcy in Kashmir,” the police chief said at a press conference here today.
He was reacting to a question on the statement of senior Hurriyat leader Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat that top separatist leaders were killed by “our own people”.
“Everyone knew the harsh realities of political killings in Kashmir. He (Prof Bhat) revealed what everybody knows. I do not know what is the reason for him to say this at this moment? But this is the truth,” he remarked.
DGP said the Hurriyat leader had vindicated the police stand. “He has said what we had been saying all along.
The person involved in the killing of Mirwaiz Farooq is also buried in the same ‘martyrs’ graveyard’ where the senior Mirwaiz was laid to rest. Both killers and the killed are martyrs for them,” he maintained.
During a seminar, Prof Bhat had said that Mirwaiz Moulvi Muhammad Farooq, father of moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Peoples Conference chairman Abdul Gani Lone were killed “by our own people”.
DGP remarked, “We had always maintained that militants were killing leaders of rival factions. When a separatist leader himself makes this disclosure, all I can say is that our stand has been vindicated.”
500 MILITANTS ACTIVE IN JK
Khoda maintained that 450-500 militants are active in the state where militancy has been lowest in past two decades but infiltration bids had increased.
“There are 450-500 militants actively operating in the state and 45-50% of them are foreign militants,” he said.
Referring to militancy in the state, he said the situation is under control and incidents are lowest in over two decades.
There are 488 militancy-related incidents in 2010 against 499 in 2009, 20 militants have surrendered in 2010 compared to 15 in 2009, he said adding lowest 47 civilians were killed in militancy related incidents in 2010 compared to 71 in 2009. Not only this, 69 security forces and police personnel were killed last year as against 79 in 2009.
SPECIAL IRP BATTALIONS
Blaming the separatists for fuelling and funding the summer unrest, the DGP said that five battalions of Indian Reserve Police (IRP), recruited recently, are being provided special training, body gears and weaponry to deal with the “abnormal situation” in Kashmir valley.
Describing year gone as the “highly challenging” for the J&K Police, the DPG said 2828 cops, and 1351 CRPF personnel were injured while dealing with the unrest in Kashmir valley, adding that 59 police personnel had been rendered disable for police department due to critical injuries. “91 civilians were killed while 545 others had received injuries in the summer unrest,” he added.
Khoda, who was reviewing the ‘performance and deficiencies and also to introspect’ the department’s functioning in 2010, remarked, “To counter such a violent situation and to maintain law and order, five IRP battalions are undergoing training in different police training schools so that the department could deal with the abnormal situation effectively.”
“The recruits of upcoming 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 IRP Battalions would be given special body gears to wear as it would reduce injuries while dealing with the abnormal situation,” he added, while saying that these recruits would be equipped with less or non-lethal weapons.
He said that the cops would be provided body protectors, poly carbonate shields, poly carbonate lathies, helmets and visors. Referring to the non-lethal weapons, Khoda said the police personnel would also be equipped with stun grenades, laser guns, teaser guns, gas guns, anti-riot rifles, and pump action guns to reduce civilian killings.
The DGP maintained that the Police are focused to reduce the “unnecessary civilian causalities” and also to safeguard the security personnel involved in dealing with the law and order situation.
He disclosed that a total of 207 persons were detained for pelting incidents and out of them, 55 had been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).