The Srinagar top cop, who faced axe in the wake of deaths of three youth in security forces action in the last 11 days in the city, was the proponent of “human face for police by winning heats and minds of people and proposed minimum use of force during protests”.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday transferred Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Srinagar, Javaid Reyaz Bedar apparently for failing to control spiraling situation and civilian deaths inflicted in police action in the city. Six youth have lost life in police action since January this year.
Records, however, show the SSP was one of the rarest humane faces of the police in Srinagar. SSP Bedar withdrew rubber bullet stocks and tear-smoke shells from most of the police stations in January-February 2010 to avoid casualties at the hands of police personnel tacking violent protest then.
In March, the senior cop grabbed a constable by his collar and dragged him in front of colleagues and officers at Nowhatta around 6 pm for firing a tear-smoke shell at a mob “unnecessarily”.
“We were all stone-faced when he grabbed him a constable by collar asking ‘why did you fire we could have stepped back for a while’. He was for minimum use of force during protests,” Deputy Superintendent of Police-rank officer told the Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity. “He (SSP Bedar) used to say ‘we have to win confidence of the common man but not by force.”
The police officer ran into a controversy with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah when in closed-door meeting he opposed rehabilitation of stone-pelters by giving jobs or source of income.
Another police officer said on the condition of anonymity that Bedar was for roping in priests of mosques and mohalla elders to prevail upon stone-pelters. He also defended use of the Public Safety Act against history sheeters among stone throwers. Recently, the city police arrested more than 100 suspected protesters across the city. But, at the same time, the SSP was for reformative measures and was planning to start counseling for stone pelters in police stations.
“Only way to deal with stone-pelters is to work on uplift of lower class in downtown Srinagar, where there is rampant unemployment. Two, we need to see what provokes protests and if it can be allowed. I won’t mind having a Jantar Mantar-type place for protests in Srinagar so that routine life is not disturbed,” SSP Bedar told Hindustan Times in one his recent interviews. The SSP, however, declined to talk about his recent transfer.
The SSP, who has applied for a leave to go on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in July, was shunted and transferred as SSP Traffic on Sunday in a major police reshuffle by the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday. He has been replaced by Ashiq Hussain Bukhari of state Counter Intelligence, who is know for his successful anti-militancy drive in south Kashmir.