Cyber POLICING

The latest on the virtual world is that J&K will have three cyber police stations. State police chief Kuldeep Khoda announced that one each will work in Srinagar, Jammu and the state police Crime Branch Headquarters. The decision was taken as cyber crime has started posing a challenge to the policing.

Interestingly, the decision came at a time when the government was literally on its toes trying to manage the impact of a highly derogatory and blasphemous page on Facebook. Though police claim they blocked the page through the Home and I&B Ministry in Delhi, it was the massive reporting of the page that led to it being blocked.

However, police are being credited for acting against the targets even before they had the critical infrastructure available to fight with. They chased targets to the virtual world at the peak of 2010 unrest and many people are still fighting their cases in the courts. The police use lots of technologies to eavesdrop on people and extract what it requires the most.

The police chief has stated that the space for three Cyber Police Stations stands identified, and they would start functioning from December 15. Software and the other staff would be arranged within police’s own resources till necessary allocations are made by the government. Cyber policing is a must in J&K now because almost one third of the population is somehow linked to the internet through cell phones and the computers.

Authentically REVEALED
People knew it for years. But it required India’s respected cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Naresh Trehan to break the news that Kashmir is heaven for spurious and substandard drugs. In a recent visit to Kashmir, Trehan suggested the government to immediately step in and stop the deadly business. Besides, he suggested India’s reputed private pharmaceutical companies to carry out a survey in Kashmir to put an end to the lethal menace.

Trehan was in town apparently to study the feasibility of opening a centre of his Medanta Medicity. Given the state of stress, it seems he was satisfied that the market exists. He did announce that a good news will be out within a few months.

The government knew it always but it never acted. A section of the doctors have encouraged it all along. There are instances of certain drugs being available at particular shops manned by particular practitioners. There were complaints as well but the area being very technical mere media campaigns would not help. State’s drug management controls and systems are in place but in a protracted dormant mode.

The pharma companies that supply drugs to the state have actually mushroomed across India, mostly in the north India. They have specific clientele and particular systems of operation.

Interestingly, some of the major pharma companies have set up shop in Jammu. Availing the industry specific concessions, they are making roaring business. But not everybody of them is marketing their products in J&K. At the same time, some of them are increasingly being scrutinized for financial irregularities. Recently one company surrendered Rs 120 crores of income that it had not listed in its books with intimation to the income tax department.

Story Of A LANDMINE
On November 11, the army recovered a landmine from an abandoned hideout of Lashkar operative Mohammad Sultan alias Noman who was gunned down in June, in Doda’s Keshwan belt. It weighed 40 Kgs and it was for the first time that such a heavy IED was recovered since 1990 when the militancy broke out. So the Northern Command rushed experts to Bhandarkoot where 11-RR is stationed. The basic idea was to understand the fabrication of the IED that seemingly had lot of explosive material, wires, fuses and other devices attached. Once the experts reached the spot, saw the device, they took a long time to decide.

Finally they decided against opening it. After more than two days, they shrouded the IED with lot of sandbags and blasted it with utmost care on the banks of Jhelum. Prior to its destruction the host population was informed and advised not to tread towards the banks. Opening the rare device, the experts suggested was “too dangerous”. Physical inspection suggested the box contained three IEDs. At one point of time X-raying the box was thought a possibility but eventually it was ruled out for a number of reasons, according to police sources.

Now the splinters of the device are being collected for examination by the forensic experts.

A Follow UP
The man Naik Kamlesh Kumar Mishra who was beaten by the crowd listening Syed Ali Geelani’s speech in Sopore was owned by the armed forces. It issued a formal statement suggesting the man was on “covert” mission.

The spokesman said his service pistol, identity card and mobile were snatched by the crowd from him. The mission of the ‘covert team’ also comprising police, the spokesman said was to gather information on the presence of “terrorists” in the public rally.

But Geelani sent a formal application to the concerned police station saying there was an attempt to murder. Police that had already registered cases of attempt to murder and snatching of weapon against 15 people who were in the audience said they are happy over Geelani’s “encouraging gesture” that he has reposed his trust in the System and Police for their professional competence. They, in fact, sought pistol and other belongings of the military intelligence official.

Soon after, Geelani addressed a news conference. He said he has survived in 18 assassination bids since 1996. “There could have been only two motives for the Army to send  its armed man in civvies to our peaceful rally: either it  wanted to eliminate me or cause a stampede hoping that it would prove fatal for me or the common people present there. Later, the police would have blamed the militants for the attack,” he said. Last attempt, he said, was a rocket attack on his residence in 1996.

The Pillai DECREE
India’s former Home Secretary, G K Pillai, has blamed the army and the vested interests it has for opposing the lifting of AFSPA. He believes the presence of the army is ‘overbearing’ in Kashmir. Talking to a Delhi based news portal Pillai says it is high time the government considered lifting AFSPA because it has been “very indifferent, very callous and careless”. Pillai believes that if the situation in an area improves, lift the AFSPA and if the situation worsens, it can be imposed again.

Pillai has accused army of “just sitting on it (sub committee)” because it wants status quo to continue. Over a period of time, he says, everybody has developed a vested interest in this.

“One of the biggest owners of land in J&K is the army. Like in Delhi, it has a big cantonment. But here nobody is bothered because Delhi is expanding with Gurgaon etc. But if you go to the Srinagar cantonment area, you will ask why does the army need so much land?” Pillai said. “Srinagar is an urban city. But if one goes to downtown Srinagar, it is crowded, congested. If someone requires 10 acres or 50 acres of land where will he go? But the army has thousands of acres in the heart of the city.”

Pilai says in the Pathribal case, the army still hasn’t given its sanction. “Then they should say we are not giving sanction because the army personnel were innocent. In that case, the people can go to court. But the army will neither give this nor that.”

The former home secretary said despite the courts being “a little bit pro-government when it comes to national security and it involves secession, Pakistan, J&K” have courts put down very clear cut dos and don’ts which are not being followed. He says people only protest when “they feel that something unjust has taken place.” Supporting Omar’s campaign for partial revocation of the AFSPA, Pillai said army has not operated in Budgam for the past five years and the militant activities are down.

“When they (militants) haven’t fired at you with the act, why should they fire at you without the act?” he said. “When Omar Abdullah is saying lift the Disturbed Areas Act, he is taking a risk. The risk should be taken. If something happens, he can say that he was told the situation had improved, so he took the decision and lifted the act,” Pillai said. “I am sure the people will say that we would rather not have the army there. In Kashmir, I think the presence of the army is overbearing. We removed nearly 27 bunkers from Srinagar in the past one year. Has anything happened?”

Old Murder, New SIT
A new 5-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) will probe the death of a teenager Tufail Matoo, a 12th standard student, who died after being hit by a tear smoke shell in Rojouri Kadel on June 11, last year.

The police had last year said that Tufail had died after being hit by a stone but post-mortem report of the deceased revealed that he was hit by a tear smoke shell in the head. On the directions of the high court that a brand new SIT must be in place within 10 days, the state police chief constituted a 5-member SIT to be headed by an SP.

The old SIT constituted by the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar was directed to handover its records to the new SIT which has been ordered to report the progress in its probe within three weeks before the court.

Welcoming the constitution of new SIT to probe death of his son, Mohammad Ashraf Matoo said they wasted around 15 months in lower court as the police was not honouring its directions. Tired of a protracted wait, the family finally approached the high court. It was from the high court that the new SIT was dircedt to be constituted in October. Ashraf hopes that the court should prevent any kind of further delay in the investigations by the police.


Justice (retd) Harjit Singh Bedi, a retired supreme court judge, was appointed to head a commission of enquiry to investigate the circumstances that led to the death in custody of NC fixer Syed Mohammad Yousuf soon after he was handed over to police by chief minister Omar Abdullah. He is tasked to submit his report within six weeks. The decision of having a retired apex court judge was taken after the high court refused to make available a sitting judge for the investigations that raised a political storm in J&K with opposition seeking Omar’s resignation.

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