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1,452 police personnel have died in Kashmir 

Srinagar, Oct 21 (IANS) A total of 966 police personnel and 486 Special Police Officers (SPOs) have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir since the separatist campaign began in 1989, Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the police commemoration day, Sayeed said the state will always remember the police personnel “who sacrificed their lives for safeguarding the future of our citizens.

“We can never repay the debt of our police martyrs. We salute our heroes and pray for their eternal peace and highest place in Heaven,” he said.

The chief minister was addressing the Police Commemoration Day where senior police officers and police personnel congregated to pay respects to the dead colleagues.

Former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, some ministers of the ruling coalition and Director General of Police K. Rajendra Kumar were present on the occasion.

Referring to the deaths of 10 CRPF personnel in Ladakh in 1959 while repulsing Chinese aggression, in whose memory Police Commemoration Day is observed, Sayeed commended the Jammu and Kashmir Police for exercising restraint and minimizing collateral damage.

“Police should also focus on prevention of crime by strengthening the prosecution wing so that criminals do not go scot free,” he said, while highlighting the problems of rising drug addiction, violence against women and other crimes.

The gun, the chief minister said, will never be a solution to any problem.

“Na bandook se na goli se, baat banegi boli se. I feel pain when I see Islam’s message of peace being distorted,” he stated.

Talking about events between 1947 and now, the chief minister referred to the political space created when Sheikh Abdullah returned to power in the state.

“He gave good governance and created much-needed political space for leaders like me,” he added.

Reflecting to acts of intolerance and hate, he said these were hitting at India’s core values and posing a grave threat to the country’s plurality and inclusiveness.

He cited the example of Pakistan, which was still in search of a political model that matches one which has been perfected by India.

“I compliment the opposition in piloting a resolution which was unanimously passed by the State Legislature that conveyed message of peace and communal harmony to the rest of the country,” he said.

Quoting former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who said “friends can be changed, not neighbours”, Sayeed said if India had to become a world power, it will have to have friendly relations with all its neighbours.

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