Shesh Paul Vaid
File photo of former J&K DGP Shesh Paul Vaid | YouTube
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Talk of Vaid’s transfer had been doing the rounds ever since the state was brought under governor’s Rule in mid-June.

The game of musical chairs that has brought the Valley where it is today is once again being played out in militancy-hit Jammu & Kashmir. And the latest casualty is state police chief S.P. Vaid.

Make no mistake: While the order to transfer Vaid, now posted as transport commissioner, has been signed by the J&K home secretary, the decision was taken by the central government.

In easing Vaid out of his post, the Narendra Modi government is keeping to a plan for the state’s security that involves getting rid of all officers appointed by former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Talk of Vaid’s transfer had been doing the rounds ever since the state was brought under governor’s Rule in mid-June.

Also read: S.P. Vaid removed as Jammu & Kashmir DGP as state prepares for October civic polls

Since then, the Centre has signaled a return to a muscular policy in the state with the appointment of two veterans of the Naxalite insurgency in J&K.

BVR Subrahmanyam, who oversaw Chhattisgarh police’s “toughest war against” Maoist insurgency as the state’s additional chief secretary (home), was brought in as chief secretary of J&K, and former CRPF chief K. Vijay Kumar appointed an adviser to the governor.

Then, earlier this week, the Centre decided to appoint B. Srinivas, a former inspector general (CID), J&K, as the new intelligence chief of the state, in place of Abdul Gani Mir. Srinivas is known to have busted several terror modules during his CID stint.

However, even before these officers could settle down, militants became more active in the Valley, with attacks on police personnel becoming nearly a daily affair.

In the midst of all this, governor N.N. Vohra, who wanted to call it a day, was finally granted his wish and replaced by Satya Pal Malik, the first politician to be sent to J&K as governor in over five decades.

What to expect

That the Centre and the local administration had no idea how to deal with the crumbling law and order situation became clear as the attacks on police personnel continued unabated.

Someone had to take the blame, and Vaid became the fall guy.

As Vaid moves out, DGP (prisons) Dilbag Singh will hold additional charge as state police chief till “a regular arrangement is made”.

Also read: Bearing scars of militancy, Kashmir’s top cop hopes to keep youth away from violence

By all indications, the Centre wants J&K cadre IPS officer S.M. Sahai, currently posted as joint secretary in the National Security Council secretariat, as Vaid’s successor.

Ironically, Sahai was eased out of the state amid the massive unrest that engulfed the Valley in 2016 after the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani.

In the coming days, we can expect more proactive action against militants and their sympathisers, as also a violent reaction from Pakistan-backed militants to the panchayat elections next month.

And let’s not forget that the mood in the Valley remains hostile to the BJP-led government, on account of the party’s attempts to get Article 35A declared unconstitutional.

For the Narendra Modi government, being seen as heavy-handed in dealing with Kashmiris is a vote-catching move ahead of the Lok Sabha election next year.

Whether these moves will help restore peace in the Valley will be keenly watched.

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2 Comments Share Your Views


  1. Modi Govt’s muscular policy is akin to closing the stable doors after the horse has bolted. The brahminical top civil services officers are mere file pushers. They are of the same caliber as the IAS and RBI officials who were yes men during the note bandhi. These notebandhi wizards are still carrying the can left bend by the 2 1/2 men ruling this unfortunate country.


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