The firing on protesters in Sirnoo village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district has once again proved that restraint in crowd control policing is only an official statement used to silence the critics of civilan killings in Kashmir but not a policy to implement the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in controling the angry crowds marching to gunfight sites or graveyards for funeral prayers. Barely two months after a blast at the gunfight sight in Laroo village of Kulgam district killed seven innocents, the killing of seven more civilians under the garb of crowd control policing in Sirnoo village of Pulwama district can’t be justified as the forces made the gullible Kashmir to witness yet another horrible day. The impunity government forces show in dealing with the protesting crowds is an indicator to the fact that the governor’s administration is virtually running out of ideas to follow the procedure of restraint to avoid collateral damage. Police takes the refuge under its advisory it has issued to appeal people to restrain from going to encounter sites in the aftermath of gunfights but it does not think about imposing a strict curfew to restrain marches of people from their localities to encounter sites the way they restrain people to take out protest marches on the call of pro-freedom leadership again and again. So taking the refuge under its advisory by asking people to restrain from going to encounter sites does not mean police has no other alternative course of action to stop people from going to encounter sites during or after the encounters. The counter militancy specialists having advised both the central and the state governments to revive the policy of cordons and search operations (CASO) that was enforced in early nineties owe an explanation for their inabilities to advise government on measures required to keep people away from the gunfight sites before or after the killing of militants in the gunfights.
The conduct of the government forces in the aftermath of gunfights near the gunfight sites matters and has to be changed to ensure that no civilian is killed in post gunfight clashes at the gunfight sites.
Since last three years the policy of cordon and search operations (CASO) is being followed vehemently in Kashmir but the number of civilians killed in the aftermath of gunfights would be most probably be double the number of militants killed in gunfights in last three years. Not even a single case of the killing of any civilian in post gunfight clashes has been probed so for in last three years and had even a single case of killing of any civilian been probed and guilty been punished the forces won’t have dared to open fire on a protesting crowd that resulted in the killing of seven civilians and injuries to dozens of civilians. Unfortunately government talks about reaching out to youth but it reaches out to youth with bullets, pellets and explosions. Recently Governor Satya Pal Malik has said that militants can’t expect bouquets for bullets they fire on government forces but he did not bother to say that should government forces expect bouquets and not stones for bullets they fire on innocents in the aftermath of gunfights at the gunfight sites in Kashmir. In fact the conduct of the government forces in the aftermath of gunfights near the gunfight sites matters and has to be changed to ensure that no civilian is killed in post gunfight clashes at the gunfight sites.