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Kashmir Valley cops to focus on winning hearts

india Updated: Apr 30, 2013 19:20 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

In an attempt to bring its personnel out from the counter-insurgency mode, the Jammu and Kashmir Police are in for a major image makeover to win back lost faith in public in the Kashmir Valley.

In a missive shot off by inspector general of police, Kashmir range, Abdul Ghani Mir, there is pointed Dos and Don'ts for the police force. Senior officers have been asked to sensitise escorts, accompanying senior officers, on how to behave during traffic jams.

"It has been observed that cops accompanying officers run helter-skelter without any caution and try to clear traffic with their weapons, which is risky. There is possibility of misfire too," Mir wrote to top officers in a communiqué, a copy of which is with the HT.

Around 60,000 police personnel face trust deficit in the Valley. Despite waning militancy - as the militants' number has come down to lowest ever at 76 according to the fresh police data - the police have failed to come out of the two-decade long counter-insurgency mode, which has affected normal policing.

"There is a need to put more emphasis on joint law and order training and revive beat policing, which is the backbone. Despite round-the-clock security being provided, the public perception is very poor. The behaviour of policemen inside police stations is not humane, for which there is the need for some attitudinal changes," admits the IGP.

The police, to win back faith of people, are planning to address pressing public issues like quick disposal of passports, character and service verifications. "Patient listening to complainants at police stations is necessary," said the communiqué.

To bridge the gulf between them and the public, the police are mulling to rope in grassroots representatives to initiate civic action programmes and civil society meetings, to create human resources.
"The common man can provide the intelligence if the police do normal policing," said Mir.

Of late, the police came under sharp criticism from mainstream politicians for "abuse of power". Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday said, "People in Kashmir still have perception that they are being ruled by the police and the army". He accused the poor police training for killings of civilians between 2008 and 2010 - around 200 people were killed during street protests.

The police have a tough task on hands as militants have stepped up ante against the state police as they take charge to fight militancy. Six policemen have been killed in five militant attacks this year.

Indigenous militant group Hizbul Mujahideen recently announced Rs 5 lakh reward for its men who killed four policemen in north Kashmir's Hygam area on Friday.