Srinagar: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is likely to get involved in the nitty-gritty of Jammu & Kashmir Police administration, including the transfer of station house officers.
J&K Lieutenant Governor G.C. Murmu issued an order last week stating that the union territory administration’s decisions in police affairs will have to be taken in consultation with the MHA’s special security adviser on Kashmir, K. Vijay Kumar.
The order came three days after the arrest of deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Davinder Singh, who was allegedly caught ferrying militants from Kashmir to Jammu.
It was issued 14 January to assign some of the J&K home department’s duties to R.R. Bhatnagar, adviser to the J&K administration. According to the order, Bhatnagar would “suggest measures for effective policing and intelligence gathering for effective policing at the police station level reshuffling of SHO and other cutting edge levels (sic) in consultation with the special security adviser (MHA)”.
Until now, the MHA took broader policy decisions, leaving micro-level management to the administrations of union territories. The transfer of J&K Police was thus far handled by senior officers.
Senior home ministry officials said the idea was not to take away the powers of J&K Police but to select officers with “effective intelligence-gathering capabilities and public interaction skills”. They denied the order had anything to do with Singh’s arrest.
“There is no doubt in the integrity of J&K Police officials and officers who have been upholding the law bravely against all odds,” said a senior MHA official.
“The idea was to choose police officers with a good record of intelligence gathering and public interactions. This does not say that some police officers are better skilled than others. It simply means choosing individuals who have a record or more experience in certain areas of policing,” the official added.
To work with MHA on four matters
Bhatnagar retired as the director general of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the last week of December.
He is expected to work closely with Kumar on four key points, the other three being intelligence activities, regular review of operational effectiveness of the J&K Police, and assessment of border grid for preventing infiltration.
Kumar, meanwhile, was appointed one of the four advisers of former J&K governor Satyapal Malik soon after the fall of the BJP-PDP government in 2018, when J&K was still a state.