SRINAGAR: Following the killing of four policemen and the abduction of family members of at least 11 cops by militants in the Valley last week, the Governor's administration has removed Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid and appointed Dilbagh Singh as the Director General of Police (DGP).
In an unceremonious exit for Vaid, the Principal Secretary to the J&K Government, Home Department, R K Goyal, issued an order at midnight ordering the transfer of Vaid, a 1986-batch IPS officer, placing his services at the disposal of the General Administration Department (GAD) for posting as the state transport commissioner, with headquarters at Jammu.
The order stated that the post of transport commissioner shall be equivalent in status and responsibility to the post of DGP (Apex scale) in pursuance of Rule (13) of IPS (Pay) rules, 2017.
According to the official order, new DGP Dilbagh Singh, a 1987-batch IPS officer, shall continue to hold the charge of DGP Prisons, his earlier posting, until a regular arrangement is made.
Vaid's sacking comes a week after four policemen were killed by militants in a single attack in south Kashmir's Shopian district.
Also last week, militants abducted the family members of 11 policemen after police detained the family members of some militants, including the father of Hizb operational chief Riyaz Naikoo.
Militants released the family members of the cops after police set free the family members of the militants.
It was for the first time in about three decades of militancy in the State that militants had resorted to tit-for-tat abductions to force the police to release the family members of active militants.
Sources said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Governor Satya Pal Malik had expressed their displeasure over the happenings, especially the kidnapping of families of policemen.
They felt that these developments would demoralise J&K police, which is leading the fight against militancy in the state, they said.
The abduction of family members of the policemen by militants has caused concern and worry among the policemen and officials hailing from south Kashmir. Many of them have shifted their families from south Kashmir to safer places.
After the abductions of families of policemen and killing of four cops, the Governor administration earlier this week removed state intelligence chief A G Mir and appointed B Srinivas as new intelligence chief of the state police.
Both Vaid and Mir had been appointed as police chief and intelligence chief respectively after the outbreak of unrest in Kashmir following killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016.
Vaid had taken over as police chief in December 2016 and it was during his tenure that security forces launched "Operational All Out" against militants last year and killed over 200 militants including many top commanders in 2017.
Meanwhile, Singh today took over as DGP after the outgoing DGP S P Vaid passed on the baton to him at Police Headquarters, here.
After taking over as DGP, Singh chaired a high level meeting of police officers and impressed upon them to continue with their work for restoration of peace in the State.
Sources said former Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Kashmir and presently Joint Secretary in National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) S M Sahai (1987-batch IPS officer) is tipped to take over as full time police chief of the state in the days ahead.
Sahai was shifted out of state by then PDP-BJP government in 2016 after outbreak of unrest following killing of Burhan.
Omar criticises timing
The timing of Vaid's sacking was criticised by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
"There was no hurry to replace Vaid. He should have been changed only when a permanent arrangement had been worked out. J&K Police has enough problems without having to deal with confusion of leadership," Omar tweeted.
He said changing the DG is the prerogative of the administration "but why a DG as a temporary arrangement? The current DG won't know if he's going to stay and others who would like his job will be trying to replace him. None of this is good for J&K Police".