Change of guard

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MIAN TUFAIL

R R SWAIN, a seasoned 1991 batch IPS officer of the AGMUT cadre, has been appointed as the next Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police. The baton was passed to him by his predecessor, Dilbag Singh, who superannuated after serving the J&K Police for 37 years.

Before taking over as DGP, Swain remained posted at various important and key positions of the J&K Police which included SDPO Kothi Bagh, SP Ramban, SP Kargil, SP Poonch, SSP Kathua, SSP Jammu, SSP Srinagar, AIG (P/W) PHQ, and DIG Vigilance. In November 2006, R R Swain went on deputation to the Government of India where he held very prestigious posts. In June 2020, Swain joined the J&K Police as head of the CID wing. He took over the charge of DGP on Tuesday at a simple ceremony at the police headquarters in Srinagar.

R R Swain brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the position. With a distinguished career in law enforcement, Swain is known for his strategic leadership and a proactive approach in maintaining law and order. His tenure is marked by a focus on enhancing security measures and implementing community-oriented policing strategies, reflecting his commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of the region’s residents. Swain’s leadership is expected to navigate complex security challenges and foster a sense of stability and trust within the Jammu and Kashmir community.

  • The challenges ahead

Dilbag Singh, former DGP, had played a big role in wresting Kashmir out of the threat of killings after the abrogation of Article 370. The challenge was so enormous that even before the abrogation, the ‘intellectuals’ of Kashmir had predicted the number of killings; but their calculations were dashed, thanks to prompt policing and efficient management of law and order.

But the past few days have witnessed three terrorist attacks in the Valley. Srinagar and Baramulla became the unfortunate targets of these attacks. A Jammu and Kashmir Police Inspector Masroor Ahmad Wani was shot and critically injured in a targeted attack in the downtown area of the capital Srinagar. Wani was playing cricket with the local boys when he was shot. The terrorist later fired more shots in the air to scare away the crowd in order to escape from the area.

In another horrifying attack at Tangmarg in Baramulla, Head Constable Ghulam Mohammad Dar was attacked and shot dead at his home itself. As per the police, Dar was shot from a point-blank range with an AK-47 rifle and received five bullets. Dar was posted in the District Police Lines (DPL), Srinagar, and had gone home on leave. The incident happened a day after a labourer from Uttar Pradesh was shot dead by terrorists in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

These back-to-back targetted killings highlight the ongoing security challenges faced in the region. There is no doubt that terrorists have been confined to specific forests of the Valley but with winter setting in, the movement will be towards the plains, and policemen are being seen as soft targets. The challenge of terrorism may subside with time but their presence cannot be ignored since the region has rough terrains and porous borders. Any complacency in this regard could prove dangerous and fatal in the near future.

The outgoing DGP, Dilbag Singh, worked though the challenge of terrorism he experienced in his 37 years of service. Addressing the farewell ceremony at Armed Police Complex Zewan, Srinagar, the outgoing DGP said, “We have been successful in ensuring peace, and we must keep it intact. The threat of terror has not vanished. We need to remain vigilant and active”. The statement signifies the looming threat of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir which can rear its head any time if not curbed and intelligently maintained.

Singh further added that, over the past 30 years, the police had courageously faced a series of challenges and carried out their duties with professionalism. “During separatist-called shutdowns, on the desolate streets, a police officer was always on duty. Riyaz Naikoo’s terror, Zakir Moosa’s ghost, and Geelani’s rigidity were conquered by the root,” said he.

“There was a time when there were numerous terrorist outfit commanders, and their terror was omnipresent. In 2018, there were threats to SPOs, and many resigned. Today, we cannot find the name of a single terrorist commander,” Singh added.

The baton now has been passed on to R R Swain, who has a three-decade distinguished career in policing. Swain is synonymous with demolition of terror ecosystem and maintaining law and order. He was at the forefront of initiatives such as Border Police Posts, Village Defence Committees, and Special Operation Groups, which were instrumental in combating terrorism.

R R Swain’s approach emphasised not only eliminating terrorism but also “identifying those who aided and sheltered them” with particular attention to Over Ground Workers (OGWs) and support networks. His rigorous efforts also strangled funding terrorism in Kashmir, significantly weakening the terror infrastructure in J&K. In November 2021, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) was established in J&K to combat terrorism. Swain played a pivotal role in its formation, becoming its first director. The SIA has since been involved in solving longstanding cases, including the murder of Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir Maulvi Muhammad Farooq, and has investigated various terror-related and narco cases, even making arrests in other states across the country.

Every responsibility comes with rigorous challenges and duties. DGP Swain is capable of handling any challenge. He steps into the role of immense responsibility, tasked with upholding law and order, ensuring the safety of citizens, and fostering a sense of security within the populace. The effectiveness of his leadership, his approach to modern policing methodologies and their commitment to accountability and transparency, will shape the law enforcement landscape in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

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