NEW DELHI: The paramilitary CRPF has asked the Home Ministry for permission to withdraw 65 companies (8,190 men) from Srinagar in a phased manner, with Jammu and Kashmir Police filling their space. These companies were deployed in Srinagar to maintain law and order after the agitation over the Amarnath shrine land issue in August 2008.
In a communication to the Home Ministry last month, CRPF Director-General V K Joshi’s office said the CRPF wanted to de-induct its personnel from law and order duties and return them to beefing up counter-insurgency efforts in the state.
The ministry is yet to give a formal go-ahead, but has discussed the issue with the Omar Abdullah government and indicated the possibility of a phased withdrawal of the CRPF companies, and a “low-profile posture” for the para-military personnel involved in counter-insurgency operations in Srinagar.
There is an opinion in the ministry that some of these 65 companies should be retained in Srinagar till such time as the state police force has adjusted to the restructured law and order grid in the city.
Some 80 companies (10,080 men) were deployed in the Valley after the Amarnath agitation. The CRPF came under political attack from the separatists and mainstream politicians, who accused them of using excessive force on demonstrators in downtown Srinagar. The state police brass remained silent in face of the criticism. A total of 19,278 men (153 companies) of the CRPF are currently involved in counter-militancy operations in the Valley.-SANA