‘There will Always be a Requirement for the CRPF to Beef up our Strength’
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad, IPS, joined Jammu and Kashmir Police as deputy superintendent of police in 1977. A highly decorated officer, Ahmad has served a number of tenures in both the regions of state. Apart from policing, he has also delivered talks, both in India and abroad, on such range of subjects as terrorism, Kashmiriyat, Jihad and Human rights. He spoke exclusively to FORCE on a range of subjects pertaining to his new appointment.
On Police Modernisation

Modernisation is an ongoing process and the Jammu and Kashmir police has been undergoing this for sometime now. As far as weapons and transport for counter-terror operations, equipment for law and order and communications is concerned, we are not that bad. The government of India and the ministry of home affairs have been particularly conscious of our needs and challenges. In terms of accretion of our numbers, the government of India had approved the raising of five more battalions. This process is almost complete. All that is required now are CID verifications and physical check-ups. Once this is done, the total strength of JKP will cross the one lakh mark. This number does not include the Special Operations Group and the police veterans who have been re-employed. These veterans are usually employed for static duties in the Jammu region.

On Adequacy of These Numbers

The truth is that the situation in the state is such that we will always need more numbers. Hence, there will always be a requirement for the Central Reserve Police Force to beef up our strength. The JKP and the CRPF collectively have two roles. One is on the anti-terror grid, where we have acquitted ourselves very well, and the other is law and order. Here, the Separatists evolved a new strategy last year. Thousands would come out on the streets, completely unarmed, sometimes pelting stones at the police and the CRPF. This required a different kind of response and we had to gear up to this. Because of this new strategy, we were completely caught in the law and order situation and could not carry out as many anti-terror operations as we would have liked. Moreover, controlling big crowds runs the danger of human rights violations. Being in the forefront of all such operations, the JKP had to be very careful about all this. We did make a few mistakes last year, but we have learnt our lessons now. The trick is to not play into the hands of the mischief-mongers.

What was happening earlier was that whenever there was a call for strike of bandh by the Separatists, we used to restrict people’s movement on the streets. To enforce those restrictions, we had to deploy force in big numbers. This was the recipe for violence. Unarmed people would come out to protest against the police pickets, throw stone and so on. Despite our best efforts, our retaliation always appeared disproportionate. Now we have done away with these restrictions. Whenever there is a call for a bandh or a strike, we don’t impose any restrictive orders on the people. When there is free movement, there is less violence and sometimes people are encouraged to defy the strike and go about their work.
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