KL NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar based Human Rights defender group, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS) Friday alleged that the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police has been “illegally created, and draws support for its criminal activities through the State and its functionaries”.
“There exists no ‘creation order’ for the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police. This was communicated vide RTI response dated 10 October 2015 by the Public Information Officer, Police Headquarters,” a JKCCS statement said, “therefore the SOG was never instituted on a formal order.”
“The apparently illegal creation of the SOG is mirrored by the performance of the SOG in Jammu and Kashmir. Widespread and systematic human rights violations have been a feature of the SOG along with an attempt to militarize and criminalize the entire Jammu and Kashmir Police. This has been facilitated by the governments in power. For example, the National Conference government laid down a parallel command structure for the SOG in 2000. Vide order dated 23 May 2000, the Home Department laid down that the SOG in each district would function under the control of Superintendent of Police (Operations) who in turn is accountable to a Deputy Inspector General of Police of the range and then the Inspector General (Operations). Then, the Peoples Democratic Party introduced further changes in 2003. Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Syed stated in March 2003 that the SOG was ‘disbanded’. This was a misrepresentation as the government, vide Home Department order dated 24 February 2003, sought to only ‘assimilate’ the SOG into the regular police by having the post of Superintendent of Police (Operations) re-designated as Additional Superintendent of Police who would in turn be accountable to the District Superintendent of Police. But, in reality, the parallel structure of the SOG continues to exist with a Superintendent of Police (Operations) responsible for the SOG actions on the district level,” the statement said while detailing the RTI response.
The JKCCS statement further said, “as the very creation of the SOG has not been done as per law – i.e. from a formal order – it is clear that governments have consciously used and sustained a police force with the sole aim to cause violence and aid the military in their control of the population and territory. Awards, rewards and out of turn promotions that sustained the criminal work of the SOG, now influence the entire police force as there is an incentive, encouraged by the government, for police personnel to join the SOG. Since the Mufti government came to power there are reports about promotions in police in lieu of the performance on account of participation in SOG actions. In addition, there can be no expectation of any fair investigations or prosecutions by the police of any human rights violations committed – whether by its own personnel or those of the army and para-military.”
The statement alleged, “a study of the SOG in Jammu and Kashmir, from illegal creation onwards, is a study in how the Indian State has sought to institutionalize violence in disregard of all laws.”