The last three days have seen the worst-ever mob violence in Kashmir, with angry youth destroying state property at will. The situation has left the police defenceless.
In the latest phase of the violent agitation, which started with the killing of 17-year-old Tufail Mattoo on June 17 in police action, the police are the main target. Since Friday, at least six police stations have come under mob attack.
Saving them from destruction came at a heavier price of shooting, which left many dead and injured. But the protesters did burn down the Special Operations Group's camp in Kreeri township in Baramulla. An outhouse of the police station in Pattan was also torched along with a vehicle. In many places, police stations were gheraoed by mobs but escaped the damage.
Scores of policemen, including a Superintendent of Police and his junior colleague, were injured. “Some of them have been disabled for life,” a senior police officer said.
He said that though they belonged to Kashmir, the policemen were being targeted as they were considered to be “agents of the government.”
“It is the worst-ever crisis I think we as police personnel are facing. We have to protect the government interests and property and at the same time we live in the society and have to live here,” a top official, pleading anonymity, told The Hindu.
He pointed out that on the one hand “we are to protect the state and on the other we have to face high level inquiries for using force.”
On Sunday, teams of Ministers visited various district headquarters to take stock of the situation but could not do much. They directed the security agencies dealing with the situation to exercise maximum restraint while dealing with the law and order situation.
The Ministers also directed the district administrations to see that loss of human lives was avoided and minimum force used to restore order.