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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

‘War being imposed on us’: J&K police chief Rashmi Ranjan Swain steps up belligerent rhetoric

There’s been no let-up in the security forces’ offensive against the militants who carried out the attacks in Reasi and other areas, but success has so far remained elusive

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 16.06.24, 06:29 AM
Rashmi Ranjan Swain.

Rashmi Ranjan Swain. File picture

Jammu and Kashmir police chief Rashmi Ranjan Swain on Saturday vowed to destroy the “enemy” waging a war, signalling a hard-line stance following a spurt in militant activity in Jammu.

Swain’s assertion comes amid reports that the station house officer (SHO) of the area in Jammu’s Reasi district where a militant attack killed nine pilgrims has quietly been replaced.

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There’s been no let-up in the security forces’ offensive against the militants who carried out the attacks in Reasi and other areas, but success has so far remained elusive.

On Thursday, Swain had blamed handlers in Pakistan for the attacks. On Friday, he equated the developments and the specific targeting of civilians with war.

“We should accept a war is being imposed on us. In every war, the enemy will like to inflict losses and our tactics and strategy will be to minimise losses and destroy them,” the director-general of police (DGP) told reporters in Hiranagar, Jammu, when asked about civilians bearing the brunt of the attacks.

Militants carried out four attacks in Jammu in the last week but only in one instance — at Hiranagar — could they be neutralised. A CRPF jawan lost his life in the gunfight.

Of all these attacks, the one in Reasi on June 9 was the deadliest. The militants attacked a bus carrying pilgrims returning from the Shiv Khori shrine, killing nine and injuring dozens.

The attack came as an embarrassment for the Centre as it took place an hour before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi.

Police sources said SHO Parmodh Singh of Pouni, where the attack took place, has been removed because of his apparent failure to act on intelligence suggesting militant activity in the area. The order has not been made public.

“The transfer of the SHO took place shortly after the attack. The new SHO, Suman Singh, has already taken over,” a source said.

A local politician said the security forces had conducted massive searches in the area using high-tech drones and sniffer dogs.

“Several local people were picked up for questioning, and some of them have been released. However, the terrorists have not been caught or killed. There remains a large presence of forces in the area,” he said.

After the attacks, local people staged protests demanding the deployment of soldiers for the security of residents and pilgrims.

Other Jammu districts were rocked by three more attacks in the following days that left a CRPF jawan and two militants dead and several injured.

Swain visited the Saida Sukhal village in the Hiranagar area of Kathua on Saturday.

"A challenge in the form of terrorism is being thrown at us by Pakistan, which has been rattled by the drastic improvement in Kashmir (following the revocation of Article 370 in August 2019)," he said.

"They want to keep the pot boiling, unnerved by the positive developments in Kashmir. How could they (handlers in Pakistan) suddenly shut the shop on which they thrived for years? Therefore, they will send terrorists to this side."

He added: "They are like rats, but with guns, and target unarmed and hapless people. We have village defence guards, special police officers, police, the CRPF, and the army. How long will they (militants) last?"

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