For the year 2010-11, the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) ranked the state of Jammu and Kashmir at number 2 in terms of violent crimes. The Bureau reported that violent crimes in the state have been on the surge. Before this report was released, the Union Ministry for Home Affairs in New Delhi had called a seminar on modernization of police force.
The discussion here was to set up specialized wings at every police station to tackle crime and law and order separately. The ministry was of the opinion that in most of the states where the police is into counter insurgency operations and also maintaining law and order, the crime part was not being dealt with effectively. Jammu and Kashmir was one among such states.
The union government in the seminar had assured all sort of support in setting up separate crime wings at all police stations. However, Jammu and Kashmir remained unmoved to the suggestion and even after seven years of the proposal, it has done nothing to better the process. The police within the state has been predominantly involved in counter insurgency operations and in law and order maintenance.
The role has expanded in the last three decades of insurgency. The crime under the garb of insurgency is unnoticed and poorly handled. Majority of the police officers prefer to be posted for counter insurgency operations, owing to financial benefits, and the instant growth in career attached to it. In these three decades of militancy, it has honed a strong and robust network of sources to deal with militancy but it has almost abandoned its primary duty of dealing with crime.
The recent example is the incidents of braid chopping that has triggered fear and panic across the state. Two months on, the incidents continue to happen in every part of the state and the police continues to remain clueless about it. Starting from INR 3 lacs, the prize for informers about the braid choppers was doubled to INR 6 lacs by the state police. However, no breakthrough has been made till date.
This serves as a reminder to the police department to do their homework properly so that it saves them from the embarrassment of failing to do its primary duty properly. The militancy in the valley is at a passing phase and gradually it would minimize the role of police but dealing with crime is a regular feature and will always remain the department’s primary duty. While the department has been successful in tackling militancy but its failure in nabbing the braid choppers poses serious question marks on it performance.
Relying on general masses for the tip-off can prove effective at times but otherwise it needs to strengthen the source network in crime department to function more effectively. It should also revisit the central government’s proposal of setting up separate crime wings in each police station for the speedy redressal of issues.
Issues pertaining to gender based crime and crime in general are growing in Kashmir. The three decades of conflict has moulded the behavior of youth in a negative way. There is every possibility that these youth might be engaged in such subversive activities, therefore, the crime tracking and tackling mechanism becomes all the more mandatory.