ADGP Vijay Kumar: Catching merchants of death

Counterterrorism grid in J&K is slowly undergoing a transformation

29-Vijay-Kumar Vijay Kumar | Salil Bera


Vijay Kumar, Additional director general of police

IN 2019, when the Union government decided to abrogate Article 370, Vijay Kumar, a 1997-batch IPS officer, was repatriated to J&K as he had the maximum field experience in Kashmir among all serving officers of the erstwhile J&K cadre. He has made many key decisions, including making the Special Operations Group―the anti-terror unit of the J&K police―self-sufficient.

The Covid lockdown saw a dip in terrorist recruitments and Kumar used the opportunity to formulate new strategies. Funerals of terrorists killed in police action are no longer held in local neighbourhoods where militant groups could use it to fan public sentiment. Instead, they are held on the outskirts with family members, a police official and a magistrate. A medical team would conduct DNA sampling of all dead bodies to identify whether they are locals or Pakistanis.

In the last two years, 277 terrorists were killed in Kashmir, including 206 local terrorists, while 81 terrorists continue to remain active. Terror recruitments have gone down from 201 in 2018 to just 10 this year. Of the 10, five were killed and one was arrested.

The counterterrorism grid in J&K is slowly undergoing a transformation. The J&K police was in the forefront of handling security for the G20 event in May. Kumar ensured that Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra remained safe in J&K. The Muharram procession passed through the heart of Srinagar after a gap of 34 years.

The latest challenge is narco-terrorism which is creating a new social security concern. “More than 3,000 cases have been registered under the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been slapped in 24 cases of narco-terrorism,’’ says Kumar. More than arrests and seizures, says Kumar, confiscating properties and freezing bank accounts of drug dealers is the key to stop the proliferation of the drug menace.