Stone pelting larger issue than militancy: IGP

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar on Monday said that stone pelting was a “larger issue than militancy” as “stone pelting involves society and leads to disruption in the day to day issues”.

“Militancy does not make much difference to the security forces in comparison to stone pelting and law and order issues,” Kumar told reporters here. “Stone pelting was a larger issue than militancy as it involves the society and leads to disruption in day-to-day activities.”

“When there is an attack by militants, schools and colleges are not closed, economic activity is not stopped, Yatra is not stopped and tourist arrivals do not stop. But, when there is stone pelting, there is a decrease in the Yatra, tourists fear to come and schools and colleges are shut. Stone-pelting is a larger issue which involves society and so we take it more seriously,” the IGP said.

“We do not want schools and colleges to be closed, shops and businesses to be shut or tourist arrivals to stop, so the law and order problem is a more serious issue,” Kumar who was flanked by GOC Victor Force Rashim Bali said. “We have made several arrests whenever there is such an incident and many youth have been booked under the Public Safety Act.”  “Pakistan was not refraining from its activities and was using social media for inciting and radicalizing youth to join militancy,” IGP said. “Also, drugs are coming from Pakistan and our youth are being destroyed. I appeal the parents to take care of their children and if anyone is using drugs, then counsel him. They can approach the Police’s drug de-addiction centre and we will help them.”

The Kashmir police chief said that the focus of the security forces was to maintain an atmosphere of peace. “We would like to maintain two things. The schools and colleges should not be closed which can happen only when there is no incident and the atmosphere is good,” he said. “Second, we would like to create such an atmosphere that tourists come here in huge numbers so that people here get employment and earn money.”

The IGP Kashmir said that they are fully ready for the summer months. “We have devised a plan and nakas will be increased, some camps will be shifted and as we will get additional force after elections (in some states of the country),” he said. “We will plug all the deficiency in the security so as to have a safe, incident-free Yatra.”

He said that the pilgrims will not face any problems. “Pakistan would always want to continue infiltration, there is no doubt about that. If not through the Line of Control, then International Border or Nepal. But, we are fully alert,” he said.

As far as attacks on nakas are concerned, the IGP Kashmir said that there are still “about 200 militants in Kashmir and expecting that there will not be any action by the militants is not right”.

“They will try and most of them will stop through preventive intelligence, but when there is an attempt, we will neutralise that,” he said, adding that the Army, CRPF and the Police are all alert as far as the security grid is concerned. “Wherever there are loopholes, they will be plugged.”

As far as sticky bombs or IEDs are concerned, the IGP said that they will sanitise the route fully. “There will be 24-hours patrolling and nakas. This time the (yatra) route will not be left insecure even during the night,” he said adding that there will be deployment, mobile vehicle patrolling and NVD (night vision devices) and drones will also be used 24-hours. “Our endeavour is to have an incident-free yatra.”

“Sticky bomb is a problem, but it is not a big worry, we will fit the vehicles with 360 degree cameras for that and distances will be maintained between Yatra vehicles and civilian vehicles,” he said.

“I am sure the public will support us fully. There will be a time factor also – a time frame for the Yatra vehicles. They will not be allowed in a mix-way.  The entire Yatra will be monitored through CCTV cameras and drones.”