Jammu and Kashmir police chief abruptly transferred

Vaid posted as transport commissioner in a midnight order by the governor’s administration

New Delhi: Amid reports of dissatisfaction in the union government over handling of recent cases of abduction of the family members of cops by militants, Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) police chief Shesh Paul Vaid was on Thursday abruptly transferred and posted as transport commissioner in the same state.

A 1987 batch Indian Police Services (IPS) officer Dilbagh Singh will take charge as the new Director General of Police (DGP). He will also hold the post of Director General (Prisons).

The arrangements are temporary till the time the state gets a permanent top cop.

According to sources in the union Home Ministry, the recent kidnappings and release of relatives of the cops did not go down well with the government.

Last week, militants had abducted as many as 11 family members of six policemen after midnight raids in south Kashmir’s Kulgam, Anantnag and Pulwama districts.

They were later released after the police released around a dozen family members of militants, including the father of militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen’s chief Riyaz Naikoo.

The relatives of a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and a Station House Officer (SHO) were among those abducted.

The kidnappings had come on a day when National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Syed Shakeel Ahmad, son of militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen’s chief Syed Salahuddin, in connection with a case of terror funding.

“I am thankful to God that he gave me the opportunity to serve my people and my country. I am grateful to Jammu and Kashmir police, security agencies, and people of the state for their support and their faith in me. My best wishes to the new DGP,” Vaid tweeted after the announcement of his transfer.

New DGP Singh said the biggest challenge for him was to maintain peace and order in the valley.

“There are several challenges, like the upcoming urban body election and panchayat polls, that we need to be prepared for. Our aim is to take everyone along,” Singh told media.

Singh’s appointment is viewed with much scepticism.

Former J & K Chief Minister (CM) and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah questioned decision to transfer Vaid in a midnight order by the governor’s administration.

“There was no hurry to replace SP Vaid. He should have been changed only when a permanent arrangement had been worked out. Jammu and Kashmir Police has enough problems without having to deal with confusion of leadership,” Abdullah told media.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Wahid Para said transfers were a part of the administrative process but the government should adopt well-considered policy steps.

“What is happening on ground needs empathy and healing touch. Only political outreach will serve the cause of peace. Nothing else will compensate,” Para said.

Vaid is a 1986 batch IPS officer and has served as Special DGP (Coordination, Law and Order) and as DGP Prisons before.

A total of 33 policemen have been killed by militants across the Valley so far this year.

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