scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Wednesday, January 26, 2022

J&K Police needs to be urgently disabused of the notion that it is above the law

🔴 Its edict that no member of the public or any local politician should challenge the findings of the SIT only confirms that the force views itself above questions or accountability.

By: Editorial |
Updated: December 31, 2021 9:07:16 am
Only two weapons were recovered from the site of the alleged encounter.

The Jammu & Kashmir Police appear to be under the dangerous delusion that they are the strong arm of a police state. How else could one explain the bizarre threat by the Deputy Inspector General of Kashmir of penal action against anyone expressing a critical view on the clean chit that the police have given themselves in an encounter in the Hyderpora neighbourhood of Srinagar in which two innocent civilians were killed? The inquiry itself seemed distinctly odd — a “special investigation team” of police officers to inquire into the killing of two civilians by a posse of police, army and paramilitary personnel, setting aside the first principle of natural justice that no one should be a judge in their own cause. No surprise, then, that this so-called SIT should have absolved the security forces of any wrongdoing, laying the blame for one civilian killing on the alleged militant who was also killed in that encounter, and attributing the second to “crossfire”. Only two weapons were recovered from the site of the alleged encounter. A media conference by the police to announce these findings at a time when the government is studying the report of a magistrate’s inquiry into the same incident gives the distinct impression that the police now consider themselves above judicial scrutiny. Its edict that no member of the public or any local politician should challenge the findings of the SIT only confirms that the force views itself above questions or accountability.

Only in Bollywood films of a certain vintage are police officers seen to have such overweening powers to lay down their own rules, make up their own law. Senior police officers in J&K must also remember that the ranks and the constabulary are drawn from the local population. As a civilian force, the J&K police have played a stellar role in countering militancy right from the 1990s. They have been able to do this primarily because people identify with the police in a way that they may not with the armed forces.

If the police continue in this vein, however, they will find their duties, including dealing with a militancy that does not seem to be disappearing anytime soon, becoming even more difficult in a climate where the public loss of trust in government is the biggest challenge. It falls on the Union Home Ministry, which governs the Union Territory of J&K directly, to disabuse the police leadership of the notion that it is unaccountable. Or else it would invite the conclusion that a mid-ranking officer could not have said what he did without the support and concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor or the political bosses in Delhi.

This editorial first appeared in the print edition on December 31, 2021 under the title ‘Dangerous delusion’.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement