JAMMU: Out of more than 800 gazetted officers of different ranks in the Jammu and Kashmir Police, at least 300 have their personal accounts on Twitter and Facebook but not more than four have been countering the Pakistani propaganda in the social media.According to the official statistics, there are currently 65 directly recruited IPS officers in the Jammu and Kashmir cadre. While the senior most of the IPS officers are holding the ranks of Director General (DG), the junior most has lately been posted as Sub Divisional Police Officer at Kathibagh in Srinagar.The number of the permanent resident officers holding the gazetted ranks of SSP, SP and ASP in the Jammu and Kashmir Police Service (JKPS) is currently 248. Besides, there are 742 posts of Dy SPs and equivalent in JKPS. While 498 officers are in position, there are currently 244 vacancies-178 for direct recruitment as Dy SPs and 66 for the promotion quota.Among all the IPS officers, only one, currently posted as SSP in a south Kashmir district, has been tweeting and taking unapologetic, tough position on terrorism. This IPS officer of the batch-2012 has also published a number of articles and deflated the balloon of the Pakistani propaganda.Similarly, among all the JKPS officers, only one has been regularly tweeting on terrorist and countering the Pakistani and terrorist narratives with tough stances in social media. He has the highest fan following among all Police and civil officers on Twitter in J&K. This officer of the 1999 batch has also performed counterinsurgent duties in several districts across the valley in addition to two stints in Jammu and Ladakh.This, being the motley army of only two officers, has have been bitterly trolled in the social media several times by their adversaries in Pakistan, PoK as well as Jammu and Kashmir. Several times, they have been threatened of beheading. Sustained attempts to drag them into controversies and human rights issues have failed as there have been no evidence of irregularities, corruption, misconduct or abuse of official position against either of them.“We are doing our hardcore Police and counterinsurgent jobs. Countering propaganda is not our domain. For that, the government should either establish an independent influence management wing or set up a window in the Department of Information”, said a middle-rank officer. According to him, countering the Pakistani and the terrorist narratives in social media could only multiply threats to the lives of J&K Police officers.“We are all doing our job well. Everybody in J&K Police is playing one or the other role-from Crime and Intelligence to law & order and counterinsurgency; sometimes overtly but sometimes covertly”, said the officer. He pointed out that around 1,700 officers and officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Police had laid down their lives for service of the nation in the Union Territory in last 30 years. They included a Muslim woman officer from Poonch who led counterterror operations in Poonch and Rajouri districts before marrying an Army officer. She is currently posted in New Delhi.DGP and both the IGPs in Kashmir and Jammu have been frequently breaking news and tweeting about the counterterrorist operations in the UT’s two regions. They have been updating status on their official accounts. However, much of their newsfeed has been simply reporting about the number of the terrorists holed up or killed in an encounter or a terrorist strike from the other side.On some occasions, Police Headquarters have pushed counter-terror narratives on Twitter. The SP of Cyber Cell Kashmir has also extended Republic Day or Independence Day greetings to the people and the jawans. He was severely trolled after a Delhi-based news portal claimed that several years back the same officer had posted tweets critical of the then incoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Notwithstanding an officer’s averments, it has been observed that a number of the SSPs and SPs have been insatiably making statements about the seizure of drugs and vehicles besides other social crimes while steering clear of the ‘dangerous’ domain of counterinsurgency. “We believe they have apprehensions that terrorists could attack them or their family members and relatives if they take a hardcore position in social media”, said an officer.Some well-placed sources in Police and bureaucracy said that the UT government, in coordination with the MHA, was working on a policy which would make it mandatory for all gazetted officers in J&K Police to overtly counter the secessionist and pro-terrorist narratives in social media. “This would dilute the threats which are currently concentrated on just 2-3 officers”, said an official.
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