When it comes to strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister P. Chidambaram wants to tread cautiously.
“No giant leap is possible immediately. We would like to take small, baby steps one by one and no great leap in Kashmir,” he said.
The home minister, who is on a two-day visit to the border state in the backdrop of the tension over alleged rape and murder of two young girls in Shopian, also ruled out the withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in immediate future in Kashmir.
He, however, agreed to handover the control of law and order to the state police with CRPF as back-up force.
“Duties assigned to the security forces and the police are well-defined. Army and paramilitary forces are tasked to perform security-related duties. The state police should perform all the essential police functions relating to maintenance of law and order,” he said.
The issue of reorganisation and reorientation of Central Paramilitary forces in the state and gradually handing over their duties of guarding vital installations and protecting VIPs to the state police came up at the crucial meeting presided by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
Addressing the meeting, Omar Abdullah said he was grateful to central paramilitary forces and police for countering insurgency but cautioned that utmost care should be taken in ensuring there were no human rights violation in the process.
Home minister asked the controlling officers of CRPF and the state police to sit together and work out a strategy for gradual substitution of CRPF by J&K Police in the essential duties.
Chidambaram also laid stress on strict adherence to Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) and Code of Conduct for the uniformed forces.
He said the senior officers of various uniformed forces must acquaint their rank and file of the provisions of the code of conduct and ensure that the field officers and soldiers don’t transgress these while performing their duties.
Life in capital Srinagar was normal on Thursday. Both the factions of Hurriyat Conference Geelani and Mirwaiz had opposed the strike call.