End residual militancy but win over youth: PC4 February 2011
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said today that security forces and police should stamp out residual militancy in the State but, at the same time, make all out efforts to win over the youth and keep a close rapport with them to ensure that they are not misused at the time of unrest by some vested interests. Speaking at a first high level security review meeting addressed by a Union Home Minister at Kishtwar in over two decades of militancy, Mr Chidambaram said the Centre was committed to fulfill all requirements of police to modernize them. He added that police would be shortly equipped with riot control weapons to quell street protests without causing any casualties. Before flying to Kishtwar, the Union Home Minister had a breakfast meeting with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and then held a high level security review meeting here. He flew back to New Delhi this afternoon. Yesterday, he had met senior leaders of Congress and Governor N N Vohra. Nearly two hour long meeting at National Hydro-electric Power Corporation (NHPC) Guest House in Kishtwar town was attended by Mr Abdullah and Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand besides top brass of police and civil administration including Deputy Commissioners and SSPs of five districts-Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Udhampur and Reasi. Additional Director, Intelligence Bureau, Rajiv Kapoor, DG CRPF K Vijay Kumar and Joint Secretary Home (Kashmir Affairs) K Sikandan, who accompanied PC from New Delhi yesterday, also joined the meeting. Official sources said Mr Chidambaram observed that situation has improved a lot in the entire State including five districts, whose security review was undertaken by him this morning. However, he said, the residual militancy should also be stamped out by security forces, police and other agencies while working in close co-ordination. 'All security agencies, engaged in dealing with militancy, should work in close co-ordination to wipe out the militancy', the Home Minister said. At the same time, he is reported to have said that police should win over the local youth through community policing by holding frequent meetings in the villages. Police should maintain a liaison with the youth and see to it that they are not misguided by the vested interests to join unrest once again this summer, he added. He specifically asked the District SPs to keep the youth engaged in sports, cultural and other such activities and wean them away from adopting the line of protests. To curb any kind of street protests like last year's summer unrest, the Home Minister said the specialized riot control weapons would be given to Jammu and Kashmir as per the requirement furnished by the Police Headquarters. The riot control weapons would be supplied to all districts. Sources said the Union Home Minister's major focus on winning over the youth was aimed at ensuring that last summer like unrest, which had taken over 100 lives, is not repeated this summer in the Kashmir valley and other parts of the State. The issue also figured in the meetings Mr Chidambaram had with Congress leaders and the Governor yesterday and the Chief Minister and security and civil officers today. Firstly, the Home Minister wanted the Government and the administrative machinery to ensure that the unrest is not repeated this summer. However, if at all it erupts in some areas again, he asked the machinery to use special riot control weapons, which would be shortly supplied to police and para-military forces, to avoid civilian casualties. Crowd has to be dealt with very leniently, he said and stressed for special methods to control them. He asserted that police should work in a way that majority of youth were on their side if they had to deal with any kind of mob violence. Mr Chidambaram is reported to have hailed the anti-militancy work done by the Village Defence Committees (VDCs) and called for strengthening and providing all help to them. He said modernization of Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) and deficiency of its strength were being given top priority. The Home Ministry was in touch with the State Government in this regard, he added. The Union Home Minister was told by the senior police officials that militancy has nearly been wiped out from all five districts of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Udhampur and Reasi. Very few militants have been left in these districts now, the official said, adding the foreign mercenaries have completely been eliminated in Doda. Several top commanders of the militant outfits have been killed during last two years, they said. In his one-to-one 45 minutes breakfast meeting with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah this morning at the CM's official residence, Mr Chidambaram is understood to have discussed a roadmap the Centre and State Government could work at to address Kashmir problem. Yesterday, the Home Minister in his meeting with senior Congress leaders had described Kashmir problem as 'unique' and said it would require a 'unique solution'. Though there was no official word as to what transpired between the two at the meeting, sources said the priority discussions were aimed at taking steps to prevent any kind of unrest this summer. The Chief Minister is reported to have suggested some measures the Centre could announce before the summer as a part of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to prevent the unrest. In this regard, the Home Minister and the Chief Minister were reported to have discussed the reports of five Working Groups, set up by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and preliminary reports of three Interlocutors-Dileep Padgaonkar, Prof Radha Kumar and MM Ansari-which have been submitted to the Home Ministry. Sources indicated that the Central Government could announce some CBMs well before the summer and a possible roadmap to address the problem of Jammu and Kashmir taking into account the aspirations of all three regions. The Home Minister was also reported to have discussed governance, law and order, counter-terrorist operations, political developments and progress on Rehabilitation Policy for the militants with the Chief Minister. Later, the Union Home Minister and the Chief Minister reviewed security scenario in the State for about an hour in a meeting of top brass of civil and police administration. The meeting lasted about an hour. Mr Chidambaram wanted the administration to reach out to the people and address their problems. He reviewed with para-military and police personnel the latest situation on militancy front and infiltration attempts on the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) and stressed for thwarting all such bids. He stressed that no leniency should be shown to the militants but it must be ensure while dealing with the militancy that innocent people are not harassed and there is no human rights violations. After the security review, Mr Chidambaram accompanied by Mr Abdullah and Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand flew-in to Kishtwar. The meeting at Kishtwar was attended among others by Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, DGP Kuldeep Khoda, Principal Secretary, Home, B R Sharma, Principal Secretary to CM, B B Vyas, ADGP Law and Order, K Rajendra, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Pawan Kotwal, IGP Jammu Dilbagh Singh, IGP CID K Srinivas, DIG Doda-Ramban range Manish Kumar Sinha, DIG Udhampur-Reasi range Jagjit Kumar, DIG CID Sunil Sharma besides SPs and DCs of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Udhampur and Reasi. Additional Director, Intelligence Bureau, Rajiv Kapoor, DG CRPF K Vijay Kumar and Joint Secretary Home (Kashmir Affairs) K Sikandan also joined the meetings-security review at Jammu and Kishtwar. The Home Minister was received at Kishtwar helipad by NC and Congress leaders including NC MLA from Kishtwar, Sajjad Kitchloo, who presented a memorandum to Mr Chidambaram demanding on spot recruitment drive in police for the local youth and helicopter service in remote areas of the district. The Home Minister met 9 Sector Rashtriya Rifles Brigadier S S Prasad, who briefed the visiting Minister on Army's perception of situation in Kishtwar. In the afternoon after the security review meeting, the Home Minister flew to Udhampur from Kishtwar and returned to New Delhi. Sources said the Home Minister got district wise appraisal of developmental activities and projects under execution in the State. Sources said the Union Home Minister's meeting with the Congress leaders yesterday, which was attended among others by all Congress Ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs and senior office bearers was aimed at strengthening party in the State and bring to an end the ongoing factionalism. On January 30, the Congress factions headed by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad and PCC (I) chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz had organized two parallel rallies at Parade Ground and Muthi respectively. A Congress delegation also met the Home Minister and urged him to ensure that work is started on the construction of hydroelectric power projects in Kishtwar district. In a memorandum, they said, 'Kishtwar is suffering from problem of unemployment and start of hydroelectric projects is one of the solutions.' The delegation led by party district unit chief Pardeep Singh urged Chidambaram to ensure that steps are taken for immediate start of work on Ratle, Karthie and other projects on river Chenab. They also demanded that direct recruitment camps for youths be held at Kishtwar by BSF, CRPF and Army. The party also demanded that more Special Police Officers (SPOs) be engaged in district Kishtwar. 'The salaries of these poor SPOs should be enhanced and they should be paid atleast 8000 per month,' it said. Singh said start of air service to Kishtwar 'is a must. A survey for the construction of airstrip has been done many years back but the files are gathering dust.'