Centre bracing up for another turbulent summer; sending 12,000 CRPF men to Kashmir
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Jammu, Mar 8: Perturbed over sustained threats to peace, including terror attacks and mob violence, Government of India are sending fresh deployment of 120 companies of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to Kashmir.
Sources in Union Ministry of Home Affairs told STATE TIMES that the fresh paramilitary deployment would start arriving in and taking positions mainly in the hypersensitive Srinagar, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and other sensitive districts from next week.
The fresh deployments to assist the Jammu and Kashmir Police and Army in conducting counterinsurgency operations and addressing law and order issues are being briefed about revised Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and equipped with arms and ammunition. Its arsenal would hold some freshly introduced variants of tear smoke and improved shotguns which would be subjected to final testing and demonstration probably on Monday next.
Incharge DG CRPF Sudeep Lakhtakia, according to sources, would visit Srinagar on Sunday. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi would personally follow the CRPF chief early next week before the new deflectors and a new variety of tear gas is introduced to deal with the law and order problems.
Centre is said to be perturbed over the failure of the PDP-BJP coalition to restore sustainable peace in Kashmir valley even as intensity of the over four-month long turbulence after the militant Burhan Wani's death in an encounter last year has remarkably reduced. Parallel to violent demonstrations and the crowds disrupting scrores of security forces operations in the last two years, militants have regained their lost ground in many parts of Kashmir valley.
Reports available with the Centre, according to sources, indicate coordination between the separatist demonstrations, mob attacks and terror strikes in the middle of current year.
While as State government claims to be preparing for holding Panchayat elections in April, Election Commission of India is likely to take a final call with regard to holding by-election for the two Parliamentary seats of South Kashmir and Central Kashmir in the next couple of days. Requirement for security forces deployment could increase accordingly in the Valley.