The gruesome killing of three Nadihal youngsters on the Line of Control is yet another exhibition of state sponsored criminalization in Kashmiri society. The staged encounter at Macchil is in no way different from a string of such fake encounters staged in Ganderbal and Sonawari in 2005 by the sleuths of anti-insurgency wing of J&K Police, which led to killings of several villagers from south Kashmir including Abdur Rahman Padder and Nazir Ahmad Dekka. One common link in these staged encounters is that the non-local officers of the police or army have invariably utilized the services of local Kashmiri Muslim renegades who have proved to be the eyes and ears to these officers lured to criminality by the lucrative offers from the government—cash rewards, promotions, laurels and popularity among the rank and file.
It is not surprising that the Nadihal youngsters were lured by two counterinsurgents and one Special Police Officer on the promise of providing jobs. Interestingly, both groups have been encouraged by the lure of money. The Army agents got the supari for Rs 1.5 lakh and the ill-fated youngsters fell in the trap on the promise that their work with the Army would earn them a thousand bucks daily.
There are countless stories in Kashmir as to how counterinsurgents, SPO’s and ordinary cops, who get paltry amounts as salary, have become millionaires. The lust to gain money has been deliberately encouraged. During the raids, they were allowed to lay their hands on whatever they found—cash, golden ornaments and other valuables. Their lifestyle changed from wearing worn-out clothes to trendy jeans and brandishing newest mobile phones along-with AK rifles.
This ‘genetic transformation’ in counterinsurgents gradually entranced them before their handlers for optimum misuse. Militant turned policeman Farooq Padder, who is serving jail-term along-with former SP Hans Raj Parihar is a stark example. He not only earned money for getting Kokernag villagers killed, but also received money form the villager’s relatives to help them trace the missing persons months before it was established that he is one of the real killers. Ironically, the counterinsurgents find it difficult to escape from the cobweb. Most of them die mysterious deaths usually entered in police records as “killed by unidentified persons”.
A Sumbal renegade, who tried to return to normal life by resorting to his old tailoring profession, committed suicide when the paltry income mismatched with his habits.
The security agencies refer to the employment of renegades as “better intelligence network and source cultivation”. Unless exposed, the encounters like Macchil, Panchalthan, Ganderbal and Sonawari are regarded as major successes. Even Chief Minister boasts on the floor of Assembly and deputy prime minister in the Parliament House on the elimination of foreign mercenaries who, ironically, turn out to be local innocent Kashmiris.
A few years back when I questioned the then provincial head of police on the role of police and security forces in perpetuating criminality in Kashmiri society, he raised eye-brows and frowned. Nevertheless, I quoted examples to prove my point. As a consequence he tactfully retained the information I sought on the growing crime in Kashmir, though I managed to get the statistics through other sources. It is high time, the top brass of the security grid understands and realigns its approach. The industry of insurgency and counterinsurgency is eating up the vitals of Kashmiri society.