Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Is Srinagar turning blind eye to militants who killed 3 policemen?

Several questions such as “Don’t they have the right to live?” “Why to attack unarmed policemen?” are being raised.

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J&K Cheif minister, Image credits : Indianexpress.com
  • Unidentified gunmen shot dead 2 policemen at Bagh-e-Mardan 
  • Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for all these lethal attacks
  • Militants are getting ready for more action and are lurking in Srinagar

SRINAGAR: For the first time in 3 years once again Policemen are being targeted by the militants in Jammu and Kashmir. Unidentified militants shot dead 3 policemen from the Special Operation Group (SOG) recently in Srinagar on May 24.

In the first attack, unidentified gunmen shot dead 2 policemen at Bagh-e-Mardan (located 200m from Zadibal police station). Both officers were unarmed. After being shot they died on their way to the hospital. Whereas in the second attack attackers came on a motorcycle and shot the policemen. Before fleeing the spot they also managed to snatch Rifles and other weapons.

Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for all these lethal attacks. He has further warned of similar attacks in near future. For a long time though the J&K police have been able to maintain the city as a militant free place. Security forces were achieving very good success but these killings now indicate militants have managed to sneak into the city. However, security in Srinagar was tightened and armed policemen were deployed in crowded areas.

Javid Mujtaba Gillani (Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone)) said: “the attacks were the result of security forces maintaining pressure on militants.”

Paying homage to dead soldiers. Wikimedia commons
Paying homage to dead soldiers. Wikimedia commons

K Rajendra Kumar (The Director General of Police) further elucidated “Militant recruits face a shortage of weapons because the traditional arms-supply through the Line of Control has been thwarted by a strict vigil of the Indian Army, according to news reports. The militants, as a result, have taken to snatching weapons from security forces to stock their arsenals.

These attacks a desperate act by militants to announce their presence. Militants are getting ready for more action and are lurking in Srinagar.

Contrary to this fact Khurram Parvez, (human rights activist and Programme Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society in Srinagar) said “the police personnel knows the consequences and dangers involved in duty. Legally speaking this [Zadibal shootout] was combatants fighting combatants,”

J&K Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti paid homage to the departed souls of the policemen. Omar Abdullah (National Conference working president) called it a “worrying development. Locals are mourning the death of those unarmed police forces. Several questions such as “Don’t they have the right to live?” “Why to attack unarmed policemen?” are being raised. There have been sayings that “If this is Jihad, then we want nothing out of it.”

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-by Pritam

Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student and an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle: @pritam_gogreen

  • Pritam Go Green

    India and Pakistan should work collectively to stop these infiltration. The more we are trying to make peace in J&K , the more they attack.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    J&K have been a place of such inhuman activities. There are people in J&K who are anti-Indians. The main reason behind this is the brainwash they go through. Some wish to declare J&K as a separate country, not with Pakistan nor with India

Next Story

Activists In Myanmar Push To End Police Brutality

The European Union is spending 30 million euros on a five-year project launched in 2016 to help Myanmar’s police become a “modern” force

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Myanmar, Police
Police officers stand in position to block activists during a rally in Yangon, Myanmar, May 12, 2018. VOA

Aung Soe Htike tried to ask for an explanation when police in Yangon handcuffed him and put him in a car one evening in November of last year.

But instead of answering, the small business owner said the officers told him to shut up.

He told VOA he was taken to a police station, where two or three men waiting for him in a back room locked him in.

It was only when they showed him CCTV footage of a man stealing a phone that he understood why he was there. The thief in the video looked similar to him; he and the thief were wearing shorts.

He said he told the officers they had the wrong man, but it was of no use.

For about four hours, Aung Soe Htike alleged, uniformed and plain-clothed police subjected him to violent interrogation techniques that he described as torture.

Myanmar, Police
Defendants look out from a police truck as they arrive at a district court, in Yangon, Myanmar, Dec. 15, 2017. VOA

Aung Soe Htike’s case is one of dozens in the past year that have revealed the methods Myanmar’s military-controlled police force uses to extract confessions.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a local rights group, said “physical and mental torture” is “systematic” across Myanmar’s interrogation centers.

“They made me sit in a stress position, they accused me of theft, they swore at me, they beat me,” said Aung Soe Htike. At one point, he added, an interrogator held him in a choke hold and told him “you will die tonight” before forcing him to confess.

His wife and some friends came looking for him at the station, and finally managed to secure his release after convincing the township police colonel that he had been wrongfully arrested.

Police at Yangon’s Ahlone township station declined to comment on the incident when contacted by VOA.

Colonel Myo Thu Soe, a spokesperson at Myanmar Police Force headquarters, said he was unaware of Aung Soe Htike’s case but that police interrogations were “transparent” and interrogation rooms were monitored with CCTV cameras.

Myanmar, Police
Daw Aye holds a photo of her son, who died after being taken into police custody last year (J. Carroll/VOA)

“Torturing suspects is not allowed under police regulations,” he said.

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, a nominally independent body tasked with investigating abuses, handled 29 allegations of torture by police last year, including five where suspects died in custody.

Commissioner Yu Lwin Aung said he has passed Aung Soe Htike’s case to the home affairs ministry, which oversees the police force, with a recommendation that they take action against the officers involved. The ministry’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

But Aung Soe Htike said there has been little progress, and is not confident an internal investigation will deliver justice.

Daw Aye is still waiting for answers after her son, Aung Aung, died in police custody in September last year.

When she visited him in prison before his court hearing, she told VOA, he recounted officers kicking him in the chest and back and Tasering him during interrogation.

Police
Activists gather at a rally, calling for the release of imprisoned Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, one year after they were arrested, in Yangon, Myanmar, Dec.12, 2018. (VOA)

He was arrested on suspicion of stealing a car battery, a crime she says he was innocent of. Then as he emerged from a police van at court two weeks later, he collapsed and was dead within hours.

Yu Lwin Aung said the human rights commission has referred this case to the home affairs ministry but has yet to receive a response.

It’s a similar story for Tin Tin Aye, who said she watched as a group of police beat her son, Khaing Min Wai, when they arrested him in June.

They took him to a police station, and the next morning she saw his dead body at the hospital, with marks and cuts on his face, she told VOA.

Mon Mon Cho, a lawyer who is advising Tin Tin Aye, said accountability is key to preventing more cases like this in the future.

“The government must take action against these violent people,” she said.

Even though a civilian government came to power for the first time in decades following a huge electoral victory in 2015, the country’s military-drafted constitution still puts the generals in charge of three key ministries, including home affairs.

Journalists appeal got rejected
Reuters journalists Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are based in Myanmar, pose for a picture at the Reuters office in Yangon, Myanmar, Dec. 11, 2017. (VOA)

For Aung Soe Htike, ending the military’s grip on the police is key to tackling a culture of violence and impunity. Until that happens, efforts to train officers in human rights will fall flat, he said.

Also Read: 1,700 Child Soldiers Reunite With Their Parents In Myanmar

The European Union is spending 30 million euros on a five-year project launched in 2016 to help Myanmar’s police become a “modern” force that “adheres to international standards, respects human rights and maintains gender awareness.”

But Aung Soe Htike said, “It doesn’t matter how much money the EU spends on them, it won’t make a difference unless the Myanmar Police Force is separated from the military.” (VOA)