New Director General of Police Rashmi Ranjan Swain takes over at a time when Kashmir is uneasily poised on the cusp of normalcy. But there is also a possibility that the situation could regress into turmoil. If any reminder was needed, it was provided by the successive attack on two J&K policemen and a migrant labourer from the UP. This has yet again underlined that while the challenge of militancy may have abated, it has not gone away. From hereon, there are two possibilities: either the ongoing normalcy will be further strengthened as looks likely, or the militancy may continue to wax and wane as has been the pattern over the past three decades.
This is where Swain’s long experience may come in handy. He has been witness to the worst times in J&K, having been the SSP in Srinagar and Jammu. He has also been the district police chief in several other districts. He started his career as SDPO Kothi Bagh and SDPO Ramban and subsequently took over as SP Kargil, SP Poonch and SSP Kathua. He was also the DIG of the State Vigilance Organization, now known as the Anti-Corruption Bureau. These positions demanded not only his professional expertise but also an acute understanding of the region’s intricacies. His tenure in these areas was marked by the complexity of maintaining law and order in what was then a deeply troubled place. As the SSP in various districts, including Ramban, Kargil, Kathua, and Poonch, Swain not only maintained law and order but also played a crucial role in establishing the Village Defence Committees (VDCs) and the Special Operation Group (SOG).
Under his leadership, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) was established in the union territory and operated in line with national investigative agencies. The SIA achieved notable successes, including the attachment of properties worth over Rs 100 crore.
Going forward, the situation remains challenging, even though we have come a long way since the troubled nineties, or for that matter even from the period as far back as five years. That said, Kashmir remains an unpredictable place. The situation can suddenly take a turn for the worse. But it is also true that things have stabilized to a large extent and look set to remain so in future. And with Swain’s expertise and understanding of the situation, he would be better able to steer the security situation in the right direction.
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