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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Jan 13, 2018, 12:09 AM; last updated: Jan 13, 2018, 12:09 AM (IST)

J&K Police take to Twitter to remember fallen cops

Azhar Qadri

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, January 12

An assistant sub-inspector (ASI) from Anantnag district, a selection-grade constable from Bandipora, a constable from Kathua and another from Udhampur, and a special police officer (SPO) from Baramulla had a grim togetherness. All of them were killed in the line of duty on January 2 in different years and in different circumstances. ASI Omkar Nath died in 1991, the SPO died in 2004; others in 1992 and 2002.

This year, however, their names were mentioned in a same tweet from the official account of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which has lost hundreds of its personnel battling militants during the past three decades.

The tweet was a remembrance from the police for its slain men. Such tweets and remembrances are written regularly: sometimes thrice a week, sometimes many names and many years on a single day.

On January 8, remembrance was tweeted for Constables Hans Raj of Bhatoli and Ghulam Mohi-ud-din, SPOs Hakam Chand, Hans Raj and Sanjay Kumar — they were killed in 2002, 2003 and 2005. On January 10, a remembrance was tweeted for Constable Satpal Singh of Chawala, RS Pura, who was killed in 2001.

The police initiated its remembrance campaign on the social media in May last year and has since been regular in posting details of its slain personnel on their anniversaries. “We have made it a regular feature from May. We do it on all social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook,” Manoj Pandita, a police official, said.

The police have lost 1,632 personnel in militancy-related incidents during the past three decades. It has also lost 491 SPOs during these years, the official said.

Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid told The Tribune that the remembrance tweets and Facebook posts were an effort to “pay our tributes to our fallen soldiers”. “This is the least we can do that we remember them,” he said.

The police chief has included “interaction with the public on the social media” among the “10 commandments” for the department for this year.

Outreach initiative

The remembrances are part of the outreach initiative of the state police on the social media, where it faces a formidable challenge from pro-militant and separatist narratives. The narratives sympathetic to militants and separatists have overshadowed any effort by the state government apparatus to reach out on the social media.

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