J-K police ban smartphones for on-duty personnel to stop weapon snatching

The order issued by Kashmir police says sentries remain engrossed with the phones and compromise their security resulting in snatching of weapons. On duty cops have been banned from using them.

india Updated: May 24, 2018 17:55 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Kashmir militancy,weapon snatching in Kashmir,Smartphones
A paramilitary soldier stands guard during curfew in Srinagar. A J&K police report blames distraction caused by the use of smartphones by police personnel for spike in weapon-snatching incidents in the Valley. (Waseem Andrabi/HT File Photo)

The Jammu and Kashmir police have blamed the overuse of smartphones by its personnel for the rise in the number of incidents of weapon snatching across the strife-torn state and banned their use during duty hours, especially by sentries.

“The tendency not only lowered the image of police organisation but also compromises with personal security of the individual. This speaks volumes about the lack of supervision and sensitisation of lower subordinates with inputs and overall security situation in and around a particular area,” the department said on Wednesday.

The order issued by the additional director general of police (armed) Arun Kumar Choudhary has also introduced a number of dos and don’ts to be followed by policemen.

Choudhary said in the order that all sentries, particularly on guard duty, will have to wear bullet-proof gear and chain their weapons with their belts. He added that guards will introduce improvised alarm system and remain available round the clock in guardrooms “in a state of alertness and in proper uniform during day-time”.

“All guard personnel shall ensure compliance with the standing drill in letter and spirit. They shall have liaise with nearest district police installations/security force’s (SFs) pickets,” the order added.

Government data presented in the state assembly in January this year shows that 149 guns and 102 tear gas shells and grenades were looted by militants in Jammu and Kashmir in the past three years out of which 76 were recovered.

Of the 149 rifles and pistols, 66 were snatched in 2016 mostly in south Kashmir after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.

The incidents have increased in central and north Kashmir.

There have been five incidents, three of which have been successful, of weapon snatching or attempts to steal them from police posts guarding politicians, minority community, hotels and educational institutions across Kashmir this month.

The police lost six weapons in these incidents and the photographs of five of them were circulated on social media indicating they fell into militants.

A policeman guarding a Bharatiya Janata Party leader in north Kashmir’s Sopore decamped with the rifle of his colleague on Wednesday.

A constable was killed on May 11 in a suspected militant attack on a police post set up to guard members of the minority community in central Kashmir’s Budgam. The militants wanted to snatch weapons but a policeman, who was waylaid by militants outside his post, raised an alarm.

And last month, suspected militants took four rifles from policemen deployed at a police post in Hyderpora on the city’s outskirts.

Choudhary has also asked all commandants of Jammu and Kashmir armed police battalions and supervisory officers to ensure implementation of the directions.

The police have also started reviewing the security of all the protected persons and issued a fresh list of policemen guarding them after an increase in the cases of weapon snatching.

First Published: May 24, 2018 14:05 IST