KPS Gill was known as the ‘supercop’ for his role in finishing Khalistan militancy in Punjab. Khalistani terrorists demanded a separate state, and used violence as the tool to force their demand.
The situation in Kashmir today is beginning to look very similar to what it was in Punjab in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Khalistan militants began targeting officers of the Punjab police so as to create a fear in their minds and demoralise them.Between May 1987 and April 1988, they killed 109 policemen in the state. A similar trend is on display in Kashmir.
In May, Lt Ummer Fayyaz was kidnapped, torture and killed in Shopian. Then, on 16 May, six policemen were murdered and mutilated in Anantnag. Then came the lynching of DSP Ayub Pandith. He was dragged, beaten and stoned to death by a rowdy mob outside the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta. All these heinous incidents point out to the fact that terrorists in the state are adopting a similar strategy as implemented by Khalistani militants.
The local police are the backbone of all anti-terrorism activities. They are the eyes and ears on the ground. They have deep local contacts; they know the terrain, the demographics, areas that are most volatile. They are the source of intelligence for the Army.
Targeting the police is being done with the motive to instil a strong sense of fear in them and discourage them from carrying out their duty. In Punjab, the violence against police officers had reached such a point where mid-level police officers refused to interrogate captured terrorists and home guards surrendered their weapons before terrorists. This is exactly what local and Pakistan-sponsored terrorists want in Kashmir.
Another motive of such attacks is to dissuade Kashmiris from joining the security forces. Their joining the forces is a slap on the face of separatists and the Pakistani establishment who continuously claim that Kashmiris are being harassed under Indian rule.
As the onslaught on Kashmiri police officers rises and gets more merciless, it is of absolute importance that the police are allowed a firm hand to deal with the terrorists. The government – both at the centre and the state – needs to stand firmly with the local police.
India can’t afford to let the police lose this battle. The consequences could be far-reaching if the police get subdued by terrorists. The Army is on a never-seen-before offensive in the state, and the police need to be given the same unconditional support. This is why there’s a general feeling that the KPS Gill model needs to be implemented to thwart this plot of anti-India forces.