The Government of India (GoI) has rushed additional 100 companies of paramilitary BSF and ITBP to Valley to maintain law and order.
“We have to urgently deploy CAPFs in Jammu and Kashmir. It is requested to provide 100 coys of CAPFs (CRPF-45, BSF-35, SSB-10 and ITBP-10) to Govt of J&K with immediate effect and till further orders,” reads a letter sent from Union Home Ministry sent to the State government.
As per the letter, marked as “immediate”, Inspector General of CRPF (ops) was told to ensure immediate movement of forces in coordination with IG (ops) of all forces.
On Friday night, the State administration had sought 100 additional companies of CAFPs for Kashmir.
Sources said the process of induction of troops has begun and it might take some days to complete the process.
They said the airlifting of forces to Srinagar has begun.
A senior police officer told Rising Kashmir that the deployment of additional forces and detention of JeI leaders was part of an exercise of elections ahead.
“It is part of routine election exercise,” he said.
Inspector General of CRPF (Srinagar sector), Ravideep Sahi told Rising Kashmir that it was a regular induction of forces in view of forthcoming elections.
He said to avoid “unnecessary” halts due to closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway, the troops are being airlifted to Valley.
“The additional troops are reporting to Valley,” Sahi said.
Last year, 400 additional CAPF companies were deployed for urban Local bodies (ULB) and panchayat election duty in the valley.
“Most of those coys were de-inducted and they had gone back to their respective places,” said a senior officer.
Moreover, the government has also redeployed Border Security Force (BSF) and Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Srinagar.
According to an order no. 80 dated 22-02-2019, Zonal Headquarters of J&K Police has ordered deployment of the BSF and ITBP coys in various areas of Srinagar.
The move, an official said, was aimed to strengthen the law and order component of forces in Kashmir.
“In order to strengthen the law and order grid presently available in Kashmir Zone, BSF/ITBP coys shall take over the static guard duties of CRPF coys deployed in Kashmir Zone,” reads the order.
The BSF and ITBP companies have been asked to take over the static guard duties from the CRPF at 16 sensitive places in Srinagar.
BSF, which was replaced by CRPF from counter-militancy in the Valley in 2005, is specialized in anti-militancy operations, while CRPF is more trained in handling law and order, sources said.
In 2016 BSF was deployed in some parts of the city during street unrest. However, their deployment remained for a brief time.
“The decision to deploy BSF and ITBP was taken to strengthen the law and order grid in the valley in view of upcoming elections,” said a senior CRPF officer.
The deployment of BSF troops, who are the mainly guarding the Line of Control and the international border along with Army, has come ten days after Pulwama Fidayeen attack that left 40 CRPF men dead.
On 14 February, 40 paramilitary CRPF personnel were killed and several injured in Jaish’s fidayeen attack along Srinagar-Jammu highway at Lethpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.