Srinagar: Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir Dilbag Singh on Wednesday termed Over Ground Workers (OGWs) as a “challenge” while also highlighting that drug abuse was one of the prevailing concerns.
This was stated by the DGP while delivering a special address to a seminar held here at 15 Corps headquarters under the theme, Symbiotic Relationship: Overground Workers and Conflict Economy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“OGW is very dangerous,” the DGP said. “They can be in white, grey and other colours.” He said it was “very difficult to identify them”.
“He can be an employee, journalist or anyone else and you never know that,” he said. “He can be beneath the earth, he can be on the earth and it is very difficult to recognise them,” Singh said.
J&K Police chief said that the “term OGW has been refined and earlier they used to be called Upper Ground workers”. “They are being dealt with UAPA, other terrorist Acts,” he said adding that “an OGW can be a pretty girl, political party leader or an advocate”.
Replying to a question, he said “in wake of the OGW threats, people are being seen with suspicion”. “Those (OGWs) can be defeated with public involvement,” he said. He said law enforcement agencies know and people too know this is a challenge.
Divulging the details of the killing of ASI in Bijbehara recently, Dilbag Singh the militant who shot him dead was an OGW three days prior to carrying out the attack. “He was the son of a retired police man, became an OGW and later a militant,” he said, adding that father says he did not know that his son had become a militant. “He ( retired policeman) only said his son had gone missing”
Dilbag Singh said that “attacks were being carried on behest of the handlers across to bleed Kashmir”. “ We must allow the people to live,” he said. He said during the peak of street protests in Kashmir, a senior Army officer has coined the term “agitational terrorism”. “We must stand against violence and come forward to end that,” the DGP said.
“God forbid, a time might come when a father won’t know where his son has gone. This is what OGW things make our society,” he said and urged the “people to stand against OGW menace”. “By the way OGWs do not even know each other and they carry out their nefarious acts,” he said adding that now there are OGWs of 13 or 14 years of age. Police chief said drug menace was also one of the major concerns. “Now you have to fight it out and we must stand against it.”
Meanwhile, a statement issued here said Lt Gen AK Bhatt (Retd), ex Corps Commander Chinar Corps, also enlightened the gathering at the seminar with his views on combating the OGW network based on his previous experiences. “Each of the other speakers which included, Raja Muneeb, Aarti Tikoo, Mehraj Malik, Wajahat Farooq, Anika Mir, Ayjaz Wani, Syed Zeshan, Mehar Rather and Tauseef Raina spoke on global social media connections, network that runs narrative machinery, interplay between tanzeems, the assassination machinery to perpetuate terror, legal means to deal with OGWs and finally role of women and society in combating OGWs network” the statement said.
The deliberations through the course of seminar, brought out the role of women and society in the OGW network and a need to employ multiple agency approach to identify the OGWs, to include white collar and hybrid terrorists concurred on the challenges, needed to arrive, at a concrete roadmap to dismantle the OGW network, through a well-defined legal framework, the statement added.
Lt Gen DP Pandey, GOC Chinar Corps in his closing remarks explained “how the OGW network, that has gained from conflict economy, is working hard to perpetuate the cycle of violence”. “He shared recent examples where families were not even aware of their wards’ involvement in terrorism, nor were they willing to accept that their family member was involved in any terrorism related activity. This shows, that people, do not want to have any connections with terrorists in any form. Community watch and deliberate actions to disincentive terrorism and terror support activities is the roure to enduring peace. He also brought out the importance of role of women, in breaking the vicious cycle of violence. He highlighted that there were subtle signs of positive change in the society, after recent candle light marches held in different parts of Kashmir to remember the locals, including policemen, killed in recent spate of terrorist attacks” the statement said. He said, “It only shows that people have understood the futility of violence and are coming together as a society to deal with this menace themselves”. Societal censure of anyone linked with the cycle of violence is the path to peace.
The GOC Chinar Corps complimented all the speakers for their well-researched talks and candid opinions during the interactive sessions. He also complimented audience for insightful questions and how the youth conveyed intent to organize similar events in different parts of J&K. He conveyed his best wishes to citizens of Kashmir the New Year eve and wished a peaceful and prosperous 2022 for all Kashmiris.