Statements, backdoor meetings aimed to further violence to be under investigation: DGP
Jammu: Statements — whether those fall under freedom of expression and dissent or are linked to a conspiracy to escalate violence — will be investigated, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police RR Swain said on Thursday.
Swain also made it clear that such statements will be investigated — the communication traced and discussions and meetings scrutinised — to uncover any “backdoor manipulation”.
“The responsible or irresponsible statements — whether it is part of freedom of expression and dissent or it is part of a conspiracy or a collusion with certain elements to further increase the circle of violence — is something which will be a matter of investigation,” Swain told reporters.
He further said, “It can be found out, the communication can be traced, discussions and meetings can be investigated — if it has happened backdoor — to forward it.”
Swain was replying to a question about statements by various political leaders, including People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti.
He also spoke on the protests that erupted at NIT-Srinagar on Tuesday over a student’s alleged social media post that hurt religious sentiments. The protesters demanded stringent action against the non-local student, who has since been sent home on leave.
“All I can say is that the wheels of law will operate in the sense that if the particular action has been done deliberately with the malicious intent to further a certain falsehood and (whether) that falsehood leads to loss of life, property, further violence and attacks on individual citizens, fear, terror and intimidation, the law itself makes it very clear that they will be held responsible,” Swain said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police chief pointed out that the correlation between statements and violence has been established in some National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases and the court accepted it.
“I clearly remember in one of the NIA cases, the honourable judge accepted this as evidence,” he said.
Referring to freedom of expression in such situations, Swain said public figures have to see whether there is truth in it when making the statements.
“There are many nuisance statements. Even if it is true, but the statements have the potential to deteriorate the situation and create an environment for violation or increase violence, there should be reasonable restraint as per law. The aim is to stop violence,” he said.
He said those who make innocent remarks about a particular situation as a viewpoint are different and that will not be part of any police investigation.
Swain said, “We want to make it clear between freedom of expression and right to dissent — statements based on falsehoods and half-truths and out of context or designed to further violence will not fall in that category. We will make a distinction with the powerful tools of investigation and intelligence that we have.”
The Union Territory’s police chief also appealed to the public to maintain calm and not get misled by those trying to foment trouble.
The police will also ensure respect for all religions and protect the dignity of the majority community in the Valley, Swain said on the NIT-Srinagar incident and assured action against the accused.
He further said the police will ensure law and order prevails in the Valley.
“Some are out to trigger trouble. We will request people to be vigilant about them. Communal harmony has been a hallmark of Kashmir,” he said.
Swain claimed a conspiracy is being hatched to derail peace and the public should be alert, adding no protests on the roads will be allowed.