Disbanding SOG to hit operation in Valley: Army
28 October 2002
The Indian Express
Srinagar: The Army has said that the decision to disband the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the police will weaken counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. ‘‘De-activation of the SOG and task force will make a certain difference as these have been a source of information for the armed forces,’’ Lt Gen V.G. Patankar, General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps said yesterday. ‘‘This will affect the Jammu and Kashmir Police much more.’’ The Border Security Force has also expressed similar apprehensions in case the SOG is disbanded. Gen Patankar however said the Army will abide by the government’s decision regarding POTA, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Disturbed Areas Act: ‘‘The Indian Army works in a democratic atmosphere. Civilian authority is supreme and we will abide by the decision the government takes.” The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which is set to form a government in the state, had fought the elections on the plank of disbanding the SOG and repealing POTA, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Disturbed Areas Act, besides probing all rights violations by security forces, including killings and disappearances. The PDP-Congress Common Minimum Programme proposes that ‘‘the SOG men be relocated within the police department.