The recent terrorist killings of non-locals is not something the Jammu and Kashmir Police is worried about as it is not a new phenomenon and the culprits of the Kulgam incident, in which five labourers belonging to Murshidabad in West Bengal were killed, would be eliminated soon, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh told H Khogen Singh. Excerpts from the interview:
Who was responsible for the Kulgam killings in which five labourers from West Bengal were killed?
We have identified the terrorists behind the killings and they are a mix of Pakistani and local terrorists. The Pakistani militant belongs to the Jaish-e-Mohammed and his name is Walid Bhai, while the local militant belongs to the Hizbul Mujahideen and his name is Siraj Maulvi. Other than these two, 3-4 other terrorists were also involved. We are confident that we will track them down and they will be eliminated.
Does the new trend of terrorists targeting non-locals worry the police and do you think this is the new way of spreading terror? They have earlier killed truck drivers belonging to Rajasthan and Jammu.
This not a new trend, it has happened in the past also in the early nineties. Why did the Kashmiri Pandits leave the Valley? They left after they were targeted by the militants. But we are fully ready and equipped to tackle this. The terrorists don’t go by any logic, all they want to do is to spread terror. They have beaten up innocent, powerless farmers. They want to create a communal divide and spread tension. The police are fully geared up to tackle this.
Stone throwing incidents had stopped before August 5 when Article 370 was scrapped but they have resumed.
The number of incidents is negligible. There are two-three ways in which protests take place. One is by throwing stones and the other is by placing obstacles on the roads. But we were aware of this, and we organised ourselves in such a way that the protests have taken place on a very small scale.
In 2016 (after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani), 1,700 incidents of violence took place but in the past 87 days there have been only 260-odd law and order situations. Not a single person has been killed by the police or security forces. We have not resorted to any action in which the common man has been affected.
Shops and business establishments have not fully opened since the removal of Article 370. Do you think this is a form of voluntary protest or is it because of pressure from terrorists?
This is only because of pressure from the terrorists. Posters came up in many places, threatening people not to open their shops. We have taken down the posters. I am sure that in the days to come people will start opening their shops. You must have seen today many shops are open. In Hari Singh High Street, all the shops were open today. The hawkers are back on the streets and vehicles are moving about freely.
There are rumours that some militants have sneaked into Srinagar and even entered government offices.
Rumours will remain rumours, there is no truth in them. Even if there are any militants, we are fully prepared to meet their challenge. The police will go to any extent to protect everyone so the public should not have any apprehensions.