THE Jammu and Kashmir government will review its decision about providing lathis to police and para military personnel who are deployed on routine law and order duties in the Valley.
Giving an indication about it,the Minister for PHE,Irrigation and Flood Control,Sham Lal Sharma,said that following Wednesdays fidayeen attack that killed five CRPF personnel in Srinagar,”there was a need to revisit the SOP (standard operation procedure) available to police and para military personnel deployed in the Valley. We will take up the matter in the cabinet,” he added.
With assembly elections coming nearer,there has been spurt in incidents of militant attacks,Sharma said. The government thought that days of militancy in the Valley have been over,but yesterdays attack has proved that militants were still hiding there,he added.
The rethinking over the present SOP available to police and para military personnel in the Valley has come within the state government following yesterdays fidayeen attack in Srinagar which shattered peace in states summer capital after a period of three years. According to reports,only one of the five CRPF men killed in attack was carrying the gun.
Significantly,this had been the second such incident during the last fortnight when police and para military personnel in the absence of weapons have been caught as sitting ducks by armed militants. Earlier on March 2,two police men carrying lathis were shot dead by militants at Handwara in Kupwara district on North Kashmir.
The decision to provide lathis in place of weapons to cops deployed on routine law and order duties in the Valley was taken following argument by state government that armed police and security force personnel moving around in the Valley instilled fear among the people. However,while CRPF agreed not to carry arms,the Border Security Force rejected it.
Pointing out that present SOP will have to be re-looked in the backdrop of yesterdays fidayeen attack on a CRPF camp in Srinagar,Minister of State for Home,Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo,said that “Srinagar was not free of militancy. However,the situation in Valley was under control with Chief Minister himself monitoring it at Srinagar ,he added.
In the State Legislative Assembly,there were uproarious scenes with BJP and Panthers Party staging walk out from the House over the rejection of an adjournment motion over the killing of five CRPF jawans in fidayeen attack. The motion,which was moved by Balwant Singh Mankotia of Panthers Party,was disallowed by Deputy Speaker Sartaj Madni on grounds that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as Leader of the House has already made a statement over the issue and the House has also condemned it.
Meanwhile,nearly a dozen BJP workers were injured in police lathicharge near Shalamar Chowk this afternoon. The police action came when BJP workers tried to break through police cordon to ghearo the civil secretariat in protest against state governments soft attitude towards militants.