J&K Police are going after those seen heckling CRPF jawans in viral video

Arkadev Ghoshal
Jammu and Kashmir: 5 arrested for heckling, slapping CRPF jawans in Srinagar

Jammu and Kashmir Police have identified the youngsters who were seen in a series of videos heckling and physically abusing — slapping and kicking — Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in the state and have lodged a complaint against them, a day after cricketer Gautam Gambhir took up their cause and urged the armed forces to end "100 jihadi lives" for every slap on the CRPF men seen in the videos.

"The police have registered an FIR on our complaint in Jammu and Kashmir. Law will take its course," acting CRPF Director General Sudeep Lakhtakia has been quoted as saying about the incident that took place on April 9, when the Srinagar byelection was taking place.

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The bypoll turned out to be quite bloody, with at least eight people being killed and just 6.5 percent voter turnout. Several electronic voting machines were also stolen and damaged. As a result, the Election Commission ordered repolling in 38 seats, which took place on April 13. Only about two percent of the voters turned out, even as Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu rued the absence of adequate security forces on the original day of polling.

More security personnel on April 9 might have also ensured that the CRPF jawans were not heckled and physically abused, as is seen in the three videos that have since emerged online. However, it was only after Gautam Gambhir tweeted about it that politicians seemed to take notice. Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said about the incident: "There will be stern action against the perpetrators. It is noteworthy how the jawans were patient."

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Even Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reacted after Gambhir's tweets went viral. He said: "I had a few words with the director general of CRPF. We are looking into the video."

One question that will definitely be raised now is why it took the security establishment a full four days and some viral tweets to register a complaint in this regard and investigate the case. It also remains to be seen how the police progress with the investigation given that the people filming the incident have also been booked in this case.

Both these factors will determine the morale of the security personnel in the country, some of whom have taken to social media to air their grievances against the armed forces and the conditions under which they have to work.

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