Kashmir police should slowly replace central forces: Chidambaram (Lead)

June 11th, 2009 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Srinagar, June 11 (IANS) Visiting Jammu and Kashmir in the backdrop of heightened tension over the rape and murder of two women, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday said a strategy should be worked out for “gradual substitution” of central paramilitary forces by the state police for security and law and order duties.
Chidambaram asked the state government and the security agencies, including the army, to “sit together (and) work out a strategy for gradual substitution of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) by the local police in the essential duties that should ordinarily be performed by the state police”.

Speaking at the Unified Command Headquarters meeting, chaired jointly by him and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the home minister also made it clear that the field officers and soldiers should not transgress their code of conduct while performing duties.

Chidambaram said, “The centre is solidly behind the state government in its endeavour to create a stable and secure environment in the state that will be the pre-requisite for development.”

The Unified Command Headquarters is the apex control and co-ordination grid of the security forces and intelligence agencies, which supervises security operations against in the troubled state. Top officials of the army, paramilitary forces, state police and intelligence agencies review and co-ordinate the security situation in the state at periodic meetings of the command.

Chidambaram, who arrived in Srinagar Thursday morning on a two-day visit to the state, reviewed the security situation. The Valley has been witnessing massive protests over the rape and murder of two women in Shopian, 50 km from here.

The state government has ordered a judicial inquiry and registered a case of rape and murder after the bodies of Asiya, 17, and her pregnant sister-in-law Nelofar, 22 were recovered May 30.

It was the home minister’s first visit to the state after the new government formation at the centre.

Chidambaram told the Unified Command meeting that the duties assigned to the security forces and police were well-defined, while the army and paramilitary forces were tasked to perform security-related duties, the state police should perform all the essential functions relating to maintenance of law and order.

Welcoming the union home minister, Omar Abdullah said his government attaches highest importance to the protection of human rights and directions in this regard have been given to all the concerned to uphold human rights under all circumstances.

“We have to make our tourist season a success, smoothly conduct Amarnathji Yatra and take care of the crucial academic session,” Abdullah said.

Earlier, the union home minister had an hour-long one on one meeting with the chief minister. The two leaders discussed matters relating to security, law and order and development of the state.

The Unified headquarter meeting was attended by top army, police, intelligence and civil officials.

The home minister later met Governor, N.N. Vohra and Mehbooba Mufti, the president of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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