Chidambaram Wants J&K To Do Its Own Policing

11 June 2009
The Times of India


Srinagar: Home minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said the Centre wants Jammu and Kashmir police to replace central forces and thereby assume a larger role in maintaining law and order in the state. CM Omar Abdullah had pledged he will reduce CRPF presence in the valley when he took charge early this year. Valley-based political parties have long sought greater role for local police, accusing the paramilitary forces of excesses and highhandedness. Chidambaram, who presided over the unified command meeting of the Army , paramilitary forces and the state police, arrived in Srinagar earlier in the day on a two-day visit to review law and order situation in the backdrop of violent protests in Shopian over the alleged rape and murder of two women in south Kashmir late last month. ‘‘The CRPF and J&K police should work out a strategy for gradual reversal of roles,’’ Chidambaram said. ‘‘We would like to take small, baby steps and no great leap in Kashmir. Whatever has been planned can’t be done overnight and the issue will be reviewed after six weeks,’’ he said. Sources said that the paramilitary forces would be reorganised and gradually be handed over the duties of guarding vital installations and protecting VIPs. Chidambaram asked the forces to adhere to standard operating procedures and the code of conduct for the armed forces. ‘‘Top officers must acquaint their rank-and-file to the provisions of the code of conduct and ensure that field officers and jawans don’t transgress these while performing their duties,’’ the home minister said. The J&K chief minister said that his government attaches highest importance to human rights. ‘‘Directions in this regard have been given to all concerned. We must uphold human rights under all circumstances,’’ he said. Sources said that Omar discussed the revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and asked Chidambaram to cut troops from the civilian areas.