District Police/Administration caught napping?
Issuing heartfelt statements and strongly protesting against the highhandedness of the security forces, time and again, is not the only job of the state Chief Minister.
The death of four civilians including close relative of a National Conference leader in the firing incident in Ramban has once again exposed the preparedness of the state police force when it comes to handling law and order challenges when needed the most.
If today the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had to once again issue a statement where he strongly protested against the use of force against unarmed protesters then before doing so he along with his senior police officers should also do some introspection and see whether they had followed standard operating procedures when it comes to reading and assessing an emerging law and order situation in a volatile atmosphere or they too failed to equip the district police to handle such a situation by not focusing on their urgent requirements.
The fact that tension started wednesday evening lead to assembly of large number of people in the morning completely caught security forces off guard.
In the absence of adequate manpower and non-lethal weapons it was humanly not possible for the security forces deployed on ground zero to tackle the agitated mob.
So when mob made attempts to target the BSF camp the security forces deployed on ground zero,despite exercising restraint had to use bullets to disperse them in the absence of non-lethal weapons in adequate quantity.
Secondly, the local intelligence also failed to tip off the state govt agencies about the possible game plan of the vested interests who were looking for an opportunity to exploit a volatile situation during the pious month of Ramzan when religious sentiments are at its peak and mass assemblies are a norm.
When Chief Minister issued a statement “It is unfortunate that inspite of costly lessons learnt in 2008 and 2010 some amongst us are determined to repeat past mistakes and use force against unarmed protesters. Such incidents risk throwing the entire peaceful atmosphere in jeopardy”
As per the underlining meaning of this statement same rule applies to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as his administration was once again caught napping and failed to tackle the localised law and order problem.
The reaction of the state government to the tragedy has further compounded the situation across the state as they held back the information about the entire incident and chose to rely on emotional statements.
Not a single official statement about the incident was issued by either the police headquarters in Jammu or Srinagar or even the office of the state Chief Minister, MOS Home issued any official statement to publicly aware the masses about the real situation.
The only official version available in the public domain is a statement of the IG BSF Rajeev Krishna and a section of leadership have outrightly shifted the blame on them without even knowing the ground realities.
In one of the press statements issued by the Minister Aijaz Ahmad Khan a single line reference about the total number of fatal causalities was made.
The question which remains unanswered is when the BSF officers in charge of the situation had brought the issue of resistance posed by the local religious leader to the notice of the local police what prevented the senior police authorities to prepare themselves in advance to meet any contigency arising out of the volatile situation in the far flung area.
Is shifting The Deputy Commissioner the only remedy and not addressing the inherent contradictions in our own system of policing is the real challenge? If ever political bosses, busy playing ‘dirty politics’ over the blood of innocent citizens will get time to brainstorm on these pertinent questions they may find a solution too?