‘South Kashmir people would see more humane face of forces’
Top police and army officers Tuesday met in southern Kashmir, the epicenter of new age militancy in the state, to work out a joint strategy for plugging recruitment of local boys into the militant ranks.
The meeting held at the district police lines (DPL) Kulgam was co-chaired by Director General of police, S P Vaid and General Officer Commanding of army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lieutenant General A K Bhat.
Kashmir range inspector general of police, Swayam Prakash Pani and the general officer commanding of south Kashmir based Victor Force also attended the meet.
“We had come here to discuss the issue of local recruitment and to find ways to how we can counter it,” Lt Gen Bhat told reporters after emerging from the meeting, the first in recent times attended by almost all sector commanders of the army and police chiefs of southern Kashmir districts.
“We also took stock of the situation and see how the police headquarters can help them in normalising the situation in (south Kashmir),” Vaid told reporters, adding the basic purpose of the meeting was to talk to the ground level officers.
The officers also shared their feedback on the prevailing situation in southern Kashmir.
“The special focus was on how to stop youth from joining militancy,” an officer privy to the meeting told Greater Kashmir.
“The basic purpose of the meeting was to ensure all security agencies maintain a close coordination and all the schemes initiated to keep the youth of south Kashmir engaged bear fruit.”
Officers have admitted the rising recruitment of locals into militant groups like Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Al Badr was a “challenge and concern”.
Speaking on condition of anonymity an army officer said, at the end of the important meeting “it was decided that south Kashmir people would see more humane face of forces including police and the army.”
An informed source said it was decided that “all security agencies maintain a close coordination and all the schemes initiated to keep the youth of south Kashmir engaged bear fruit.”
The meeting, according to the source, unanimously decided to engage youth through a mass contact program in various recreational activities with the active involvement of local media so that they stay away from militancy.
“It was also decided that parents of the youth who have picked up arms are requested to appeal to their children to return back and live a peaceful life,” he said.
“Involving elderly people of respective villages including Imams to counsel the youth to stay away from militancy is also part of a new strategy.”
Srinagar-based defence spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the primary aim of the meeting was to further strengthen the existing synergy among army, police, CRPF and the other security agencies.
“During the deliberations on the overall security situation, the plans to maintain robust counter-militancy grid in the hinterland were discussed,” Kalia said.
“The aspects of sharing of intelligence, joint planning, situational awareness and flow information were also deliberated upon.”
The army spokesman said local commanders also briefed the meeting on challenges being faced on the ground and the measures to be instituted to enhance the efficacy of counter-militancy operations.
“The GoC and DGP emphasised on maintaining a high level of preparedness to deal with the militant-initiated incidents and stressed on the combined efforts to effectively counter such incidents,” Col Kalia said.
An officer said the total number of active militants in Kashmir was between 270 and 280, most of whom are locals.
Hizbul Mujahideen released photographs of over 30 gun-wielding youth on the second anniversary of its slain commander Burhan Wani this month in a bid to convey “30 were new recruits”, among whom is the brother of an IPS officer.