Jammu And Kashmir Police: A Need Of Paradigm Shift
By Imran Khan
11 February, 2015
Another son, another brave son of Kashmir was murdered in cold blood by so called security forces in Palhalan Pattan on February 9, another mother of Kashmir has to bear, the unbearable loss on earth and that is to see the blood ridden body of her dear son, another father in Kashmir was stabbed in heart, another sister loss her brother who could had bid her farewell at the time of her marriage. Another friend was taken away by terrorists in uniform.
The only question which comes to my mind while looking at Kashmir from the peaceful environment in Delhi is that when this is going to stop in Kashmir? When? Why J&K Police is not able to understand that by killing unarmed youth on streets they not only commit inhuman crimes but also contribute to cycles of violence.
Now if one may ask them directly they may come up with thousands of excuse and reasons for such criminal behavior and believe me they may convince us all by their false logic about the necessity of such evil acts. However the killings of unarmed protesters cannot be justified even if J&K Police hires Socrates. So the fact remains the same Police and Indian Army has failed to bring peace and stability in Kashmir and if I am not wrong, have largely contributed to the violence there.
Is J&K police just a lathi force, only established to abuse, beat and kill people, can J&K Police never have a relook into the strategy being used in Kashmir. Can they all stop looking at the Kashmir and Kashmiries from the barrel of a gun? And the bigger question is that do their age old strategies change people? J&K Police, don’t mind I am just asking.
While reading a book on interpersonal relation by Dale Carnegie I found something very interesting which is like “Business executives have learned that it pays to be friendly to strikers. For example, when 2,500 employees in the White Motor Company's plant struck for higher wages and a union shop, Robert F. Black, then president of the company, didn't lose his temper and condemn and threaten and talk of tyranny and Communists. He actually praised the strikers. He published an advertisement in the Cleveland papers, complimenting them on "the peaceful way in which they laid down their tools. Finding the strike pickets idle, he bought them a couple of dozen baseball bats and gloves and invited them to play ball on vacant lots. For those who preferred bowling, he rented a bowling alley. This friendliness on Mr. Black's part did what friendliness always does: it begot friendliness. So the strikers borrowed brooms, shovels, and rubbish carts, and began picking up matches, papers, cigarette stubs, and cigar butts around the factory. Imagine it! Imagine strikers tidying up the factory grounds while battling for higher wages and recognition of the union. Such an event had never been heard of before in the long, tempestuous history of American labor wars. That strike ended with a compromise settlement within a week-ended without any ill feeling or rancor”. Surprising is this story, but true.
Back in our unfortunate Kashmir valley this has never happened. In fact J&K Police and Indian army continue to restrict kashmiri youth and prevent them from engaging in healthy behaviors like play, late evening walks, or peaceful protests rendering them idle and frustrated and thus fueling violence and law and order situation. I have very painful experiences in this regard. I still remember how many of my friends were thrashed for playing carrom in a shop after magrib prayers. Similarly I read a news in Greater Kashmir news paper some years before in which it was said that security forces thrashed some adolescents in Bemina area of Srinagar for playing in a street on a strike day. No surprises because there are not many people like Robert F. Black in J&K Police and Indian Army who may know the art of dealing with people without using lathis, tear gas and pellet guns. I mean can they bring peace in Kashmir by creating an environment of peace and allowing people to enjoy peace or by restrictions, FIRs, curfews and firing teargas, bullets and pellets.
The strategies presently used by security forces in Kashmir will only lead to alienation of the community from the police and there will be no end to the violence, strikes and curfews and peace in such a scenario seems a distant destiny. A relook into their law and order strategies is a must, a new approach of dealing with people, a new approach of dealing with crowd and protestors, an understanding of crisis intervention, an understanding of the psyche and nature of people, an understanding of the psyche of youth, and insight into nature of human thinking, emotions, personality and behavior is a significant necessity. All this may look casual but may prove very beneficial in dealing with people and preventing situations to turn into cycles of violence, even if a single life is saved by these strategies and at the same time situations are not allowed to transfer into cycles of violence, I think then it is worth the millions of rupees invested on lathis, bullets and guns which at the end don’t bring peace but only cycles of violence.
The application of psychology to law enforcement and public safety is a rapidly growing area increasingly recognized as vital to many aspects policing. To achieve the objectives of better public dealing I feel that there is need to educate and train cops from J&K Police in police & public safety psychology, human psychology, interpersonal relations, communication skills, social skills, emotional intelligence, management of stress, negotiation, crowd control (without lethal weapons) mob behavior, crisis management, community policing etc. To win community's trust and bring peace a sincere paradigm shift is a must, such a paradigm shift may in no way mean cessation of police efforts to control crime, it just means a new and more humane way of dealing with people. Police needs to understand that they are beyond agents of law only and have the responsibility of the lives of people, are upholders community values and norms and above all the integral part of society too.
Imran Khan is a Psychologist
Comments are moderated