India Targeting Kashmiri Militant Families To Crush Rebellion From The Root?

Why are Kashmiri Militant families being targetted by the Indian security forces? Was going soft on Kashmiri Militants the reason for the transfer top Kashmir Intelligence officers and DG Police – SP Vaid? TRTWorld op-ed analyses the situation in Kashmir valley and EurAsian Times crisply covers the Turkish perspective by a Kashmiri author.

As per TRTWorld’s report: On August 29, at midnight, J&K Police barged into the house of Asadullah Naikoo in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. They took Naikoo to the police station, where he was detained for about 36 hours.

Naikoo’s son, Riyaz Naikoo is the commander of Pakistan based terror group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in Kashmir. Since Riyaz became a militant in 2012, police have detained senior Naikoo on innumerable occasions. This time was different, however. Hours after the police picked up Naikoo from his home, militants rounded up the family members of at least a dozen police personnel, including three policemen, in what appeared to be a retaliatory measure.

His son Riyaz was the driving force behind the abductions. For over a year, he had been issuing statements urging the police to desist from targeting the families of militants, telling them that their families could also face a similar situation. n August 30 and 31, the police were caught by surprise as the militants took action at night, kidnaping several members of families of police personnel.

Riyaz owned up to the abductions, saying that the police had forced their hand. “We have endured a lot until this day and tried to reason with the Kashmiri police but they did not budge,” Riyaz Naikoo said in an audio statement.

“We abducted them so you know we have the capacity to reach your families. This time we have let your families go unharmed but it will not happen again. The next time we will do as you do. You must be aware that we cannot imprison your families. We only have one punishment, which you know very well.”

The abductions by the rebels have so far been harmless, as all the abductees were released within 48 hours. A line, however, has been drawn between the police families and the rebels. The militants have now made it clear: if the police went after their kith and kin, they too would go after the families of the police.

With the abductions of law enforcement families, some fear has set in. Two low-rung officers recently resigned from their jobs. Their resignations were read aloud by the Islamic leader at a local mosque in south Kashmir. The officers apologised in writing for being part of a force that was “against the people.” According to local media, at least 24 SPOs resigned in July and August, but the police department has refused to comment.

“So resignations are never accepted. The policemen are told those who resign will be treated as deserters. So these two who had made public their resignations will again be on duty in a few days,” a senior police official told TRT World.

During the 1990s, the police, by and large, did not participate in anti-insurgency work. A separate fighting force called the Special Task Force comprising surrendered militants was established to tackle the insurgency. The STF was however discontinued in 2002 and all its members were sent into the regular police force.

By the time popular revolts erupted again, the Jammu and Kashmir police were at the forefront of quelling the protests. The local people began to see them no differently as they saw Indian army and other security forces.

According to TRT Report, the harassment of the families of the militants was so common that it did not get much attention in the media. However, the abductions of the police families had become a massive news throughout the country.

While Naikoo’s last detainment at the police station was free from incident, Naikoo was unclear whether the abductions and the threat to the families of the policemen would stop the Indian government and the police from harassing the families of the militants. One of only two top-ranking Kashmir Muslim officials, who headed the intelligence department, was dismissed from his position only four days after the abductions.

The Director-General of police, SP Vaid, too was transferred only a week after the kidnappings. Reports in Indian media said that New Delhi was unhappy with Vaid for releasing relatives of militants. As per the TRT report, the prevalent thought in Delhi was to come down hard on the militants and their families, similar to what the police did during the insurgency in Punjab in the 1980s.

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