A gift of smart policing
by Bisma Nazir
With the city of Srinagar feeling more secure and safe, the district administration has begun to transition from heavy monitoring to smart policing. But cyber crime and narcotics are still big challenges, informs Srinagar SSP Rakesh Balwal. A KC exclusive.
THANKS to the improvement in the overall security scenario in Srinagar, the City’s district
administration has removed many bunkers from the congested interiors and many more
are set to be removed in the near future. The administration is working on a comprehensive plan of relocation of the CRPF manpower. The decision to remove the bunkers and relocate the CRPF and the Jammu & Kashmir police personnel has been taken in the wake of considerable improvement in the security environment in the capital city.
Peace prevails: SSP
In an exclusive interview with Kashmir Central, the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP),
Srinagar, Rakesh Balwal (IPS), informed that the focus was now on smart policing rather than thickness of jackboots. Rakesh said the situation had improved a lot. Not a single new
recruitment had been reported in the Srinagar district in the recent past, he added. He said
the police and paramilitary CRPF were acting swiftly on tipoffs. And on an average, 15-20
cordon and search operations were taking place on a daily basis. “We have just one active terrorist – Momin Gulzar – in the district. And his movement has been restricted,” said he.
Smart policing is the way
The SSP further added that several over ground worker (OGW) modules had been busted
and arrests had been made under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act (UAPA). The Srinagar district has reported not a single incident over the last couple of months that may have disturbed the law and order situation here. He added that since the overall security scenario in the area had seen improvement, people deserved respite
from too much monitoring. “We have removed many bunkers in the busy and
congested areas of the Srinagar city, like Jahangir Chowk, Dal Gate and a few other places. There is a transition from manual policing to smart policing. CCTV cameras have been installed all across the city, drones are being used to keep a vigil and tenant verification is almost complete”, the SSP informed. He added that a record of minority community members and non- locals was being maintained and that Google mapping was being done to stay alert and updated. Ahead of the G-20 diplomatic summit, scheduled towards the end of May in Srinagar, every step is being taken for its peaceful culmination. The SSP said the administration was fully prepared to host the summit.
“Security and the developmental scenario are being improved at a rapid pace and there are
no hiccups whatsoever. Vigil has been enhanced at the City’s outskirts along Nowgam, Pohru, the new bypass of Lasjan, Khrew, Khanmoh, Shalteng, Bemina bypass and the 90-
feet Ahmed Nagar bypass. Mobile naakaas are being installed in the City interiors”, said the
Cyber crime, a challenge
The Srinagr SSP, however, admitted that cyber crime and narcotics were the major challenges for the Srinagar District Administration. Cyber crimes particularly sextortion, stocking, duping were on the rise and that a lot of awareness was required to contain cyber crimes, he added. “A well-equipped cyber police station is working day and night under the direct supervision of the Kashmir ADGP Vijay Kumar,” said the SSP, adding that since the public was not fully aware of the cyber crimes, the criminals indulged in duping, sextortion, extortion and blackmail very frequently. He further informed that cyber awareness camps
were being organised at every police station for mass awareness. According to him, women, in particular, needed to be more careful while using smart phones and social media
applications. He said the new-age crime was sharper and precise, thanks to the internet.
“There is hardly any ‘scene of crime’ because everything is done online,” said he.
The SSP advised that people should avoid taking unidentified calls, especially video calls
from unknown callers. He further said that bank details, credit and debit card details
should never be shared with anyone, particularly those who ask for the same from
Down with drugs
The Srinagar SSP also informed that the use of narcotics was also on the rise in Srinagar city, thus leading to crimes like theft, snatching and loot. In fact, he added, that 95% of the thefts in the City were committed by those using narcotics. “The rate of organised theft in Srinagar is very, very low. The thefts that happen are mostly carried out by narcotic users who desperately need money for buying drugs,” said he. Since the use of narcotics has consequential stigmatisation, there are parents who are hesitant to report the same to the police. Also, he pointed, that the facilities available for rehabilitation and de-addiction
were insufficient. “We have just one de- addiction centre in the City and then there are
two or three private centres with very little facilities, which, in no way, match the demand
for such centres,” the SSP said, adding that
rehabilitation and de-addiction had to be prioritised to save young lives from death and
destruction. Let it be mentioned that awareness camps are being organised under the Nasha Mukti Abhiyaan and a special ward has been designated for the treatment of drug
Matrimonial disputes rising
SSP Balwal said that the crime against women was thankfully not high in Srinagar city but
added that the cases of domestic violence showed a steep rise over a period of time.
“Matrimonial disputes are being reported on daily basis,” he added.
So overall, even though the city of Srinagar may have become much safer, narcotics and
cyber crimes still need attention. But yes, the public can heave a sigh of relief because the overall scenario calls for release in strict monitoring. Smart policing is the keyword now.