Giving a clean chit to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Centre said "unruly mobs" were behind the violence in the Kashmir Valley and asserted that the government would not cow down to the separatists' tactics.
Union Home Secretary G K Pillai in an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN told that the separatists were instigating violence in the valley as the overall law and order situation in the state was improving.
Transcript of the interview
Three deaths in the valley in 24 hours. Eight civilian deaths in two weeks. How bad is the situation in the Valley?
GK Pillai: I think this is all nonsense being whipped up by the separatist elements to create confusion in J&K. As you are aware, it has been one of the best tourist seasons in J&K, double the number of tourists that have come to Kashmir this year as compared to last year. The overall law and order situation has been improving and I think that is something that the separatist elements find very difficult to stomach.
So you believe that the separatists are instigating youth to attack the security forces?
I have no doubt about that.
So is the Centre giving the CRPF a clean chit? You don't accept the view that the CRPF has become trigger-happy?
The CRPF has been deployed there to help the state government. They have been deployed at specific locations earmarked by state police. And, wherever they reacted, when they have been attacked. You must realise that in Sopore, there was a curfew and people had violated the curfew not just by coming out but also attacked CRPF positions. We have had almost eight CRPF men and two officers being injured in one single incident.
But has not there been excessive use of force, couldn't there be greater restraint when dealing with civilians?
Not at all. I think the CRPF have been extremely restrained. The fact that the injuries on the side of the civilians, you cannot really call them civilians but unruly mobs, has been limited because the CRPF has been quite restrained.
Even the J&K chief minister has asked for the CRPF to be reined in. He has spoken to the home minister on the phone on the need to bring an immediate end to the violence.
I don't think so. I think when the DG, CRPF was in Srinagar over the weekend, he had shown the video footage of the incidents that had taken place. I think the CM was quite convinced that all the provocation and violence, in one sense, came from the side of those so-called unruly mobs and not the CRPF at all.
But police firing, stone throwing, civilian deaths... Is there a worry at all that if this continues, Kashmir could be once again entering a spiral of violence?
I don't think so. I think this will last for a few days till they realize the futility of this senseless violence. The government is not going to be cowered down this mindless violence. I expect the situation to improve over the next few days.