An IAS officer and a senior police officer from Jammu and Kashmir indulged in a war of words on Facebook over the latest phase of violence in the Kashmir valley where over 50 people have been killed in action by security forces.
Ruveda Salam, who became Kashmir’s first woman Indian Police Service (IPS) officer in 2013 before appearing for the civil services examination again in 2015 to qualify for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), obliquely criticised the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dispensation in Kashmir.
“From wooing voters while wearing colour #green to painting #red the same valley streets, and then they question the credentials of the same religion whose symbols they used to mask their evil deeds… #hypocrisy couldn’t get worse than this!” she wrote on her Facebook on August 3.
Salam’s post came a day after the body of 21-year-old Reyaz Ahmad Shah was found in Srinagar’s old city with hundreds of pellets in his body.
In the comment’s section Sopore superintendent of police, Harmeet Singh Mehta asked, Salam to “resign and join some separatist group” and even called her an “ignorant lady”.
His comments led to series of exchanges where Salam, who now works with the Union ministry of finance, accused Mehta of “gender bias” and name calling that “all Kashmiris are terrorists”.
Salam stood by her post while responding to Mehta’s attack.
“Harmeet Singh Mehta Sir , obviously you are well aware & kindly Don’t teach me what I should or shouldn’t do , before writing things , I weigh my each word & whatever I have written are facts . Would you question the judiciary in J&K for being ignorant too & ask them to resign ?” Salam said in her response.
Mehta then targeted Salam saying they should “talk to those who were pelting stones and check their background”.
“Let you people make this Kashmir as Afghanistan with your wisdom and that too of the people like you madam civil servant,” he wrote.
Salam shot back, asking who has reached out to the families of those who have been killed and maimed.
“I didn’t mind the “ ignorant lady “ comment by one of our worthy Police Officers of J&K , although it was in bad taste & with undertones of gender bias ...writing what you truly feel inside is often snubbed by dictating to you to resign & join separatists , probably , reflecting the general false belief that all Kashmiris. are terrorists and they should be either silenced or driven away to the neighbouring country . Wonder what #Kashmir would be without #kashmiris ( those who of course speak kashmiri language & stand witness to its culture ),” she added.
Salam’s post was shared by at least 117 people besides attracting hundreds of comments from locals and non-locals.
Most of the people commenting from the valley expressed their support for Salam while there was a lot of resentment in comments by non-locals.
Salam’s comment comes after Shah Faesal, the Kashmir’s first topper in the civil services examination, accused a section of the electronic media of “pitching one Kashmiri against another and breeding more alienation” in the state after the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani in July.
Faesal also criticised the government’s handling of the situation saying “when a state kills and maims its own citizens, it’s self-injury and self-decimation of the worst sort”.
Faesal, whose success in the 2009 civil services exams has turned him into a role-model for Kashmiri youngsters, vented his anger in a Facebook post after a section of media juxtaposed his images with Wani’s to highlight what they said were two sides of the valley.