Anti-militancy ops legal ‘version of contract killing’, says ex-Fin Minister

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Former Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Haseeb Drabu, has said that there is a well-laid-out “financial reward system” in place for killing a militant but none for taking him into custody alive.

The former PDP legislator made the remarks in a column that he wrote for The Indian Express. He wrote that every time forces kill a militant, they get a cash award; the amount depends on the “grade” of the militant killed. “For example, killing a “grade A” militant fetches a prize of Rs 7 lakh to Rs 12.5 lakh. This is a legalised version of contract killing; a supari system morally sanctified in the name of national security,” he wrote.

Adding that on the contrary, the policy of ex-gratia compensation for the kin of civilians killed during insurgency-related incidents is just Rs 1 lakh, writing, “The reward system does not stop at cash. Those who aid and assist — from a tip-off to confirmed information — in locating the militant leading to his killing are a part of the financial reward chain. They all share in the spoils.”

Drabu further wrote that the killing of a militant provides informers and his associates an employment opportunity. “Post a “successful” operation, the concerned police official is empowered to appoint special police officers (SPOs) on an ad hoc basis,” he explains. “These appointments of SPOs need no civil government or political approval. Further, the police officer gives a “citation”, which is a recital of who helped in the killings.”

This citation results in the ad hoc SPO being confirmed in services. He gets regularised after a “successful” operation.

Adding that the only parameter of “success” is the death of a militant, “In this employment-generating murder matrix, civilian deaths are not a criteria or even a negative consideration.”

Drabu wrote the column right after seven civilians were killed in forces action in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday.

The killings garnered widespread condemnation across the Kashmir with Joint Resistance Leadership calling for three day shutdown to mourn the killings and a march to army headquarters in Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar.

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