JK News Today analysis

Binoo Joshi

At the last weekend when Director General of Police Rashmi Ranjan Swain began his new initiative of no holds -barred interaction with the public , he themed the session on Kashmiri family ethos . He sought to invoke the role of families in creating an atmosphere of complete and vibrant peace for a better future for the children who have come face to face with the changing realities in which they have plenty of opportunities to grow and make their mark as responsible and successful citizens . More importantly , it is to nail Pakistani propaganda and decimate it in the space where it grew . Pakistan exploited Kashmiri society and its grievances to double-down its agenda of creating troubles in the Valley through guns and bombs. Swain’s effort is to bridge the gaps, leaving no breaches that Pakistanis might attempt to exploit their nefarious designs .

It was a three-pronged strategy that went into the “ public darbar”, as it is called in local parlance, , in which the people holding high positions are available to the general public to listen to their grievances . First part of this peace -pursuit strategy was to provide people with a platform to air their grievances , understand the backdrop and determine what was doable or what could be attempted and at the same time which was beyond the police jurisdiction . But the main purpose was to listen , as such interactions reduce many misgivings and open door to new ideas that carry a solution with them.
This has become important as in the situation that Kashmir has witnessed since late 1980s, police -public relation has seen many ups and downs . Those familiar with the history of Kashmir militancy , or it would be more appropriate to say , Pakistan sponsored terrorism , can tell that terrorists made policemen their targets in 1989 in as much measure as the political activists and Kashmiri Pandits as they wanted to break all the relations that existed in Kashmiri society.
Within days of his assuming office of the police chief , Swain had announced that he would meet the people twice a month, where they could approach him without any prior appointment. There was a system in place that public -police meetings were held in a very formal way at “ thana”( police station) level where the people would exchange views with the police officials . That was a good initiative , but now it has been taken to the next level where the police chief is there to listen to the grievances and could take decisions – instant, short term or even long term on the basis of what was possible and within what timeframe .
The second part of this strategy within strategy is to alienate the population , making families aware that they too have to shoulder responsibility along with police too keep their wards in check The phrase that “ they are victims ( of propaganda and evil influences), but then they become perpetrators of terrorism) was aimed at telling the people that they know what is going on behind the scene . the call was to keep their children away from becoming victims of enemy’s designs . Each family has a responsibility toward children and to society , they have to act as parents in real sense – the activities must be watched and corrective measures taken .
Third, but not necessarily the last , a warning to neighbours, friends and all those who tend to weave the illusion that there is an alternative reality to the emerging peace in Kashmir , that consequences await their acts and narration . Halt children before they take path of destruction , whether terrorism as such or narco-terrorism . This idea driven home is that police are there to help you provided parents help themselves .
DGP Swain has made a beginning , and it is hoped his efforts will fructify.