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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

CRPF denies its men were 'sitting ducks'

HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times  Bangalore, March 15, 2013
First Published: 01:27 IST(15/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:28 IST(15/3/2013)

While political parties sparred over Wednesday's killing of five CRPF jawans in a fidayeen attack in Srinagar, CRPF debunked claims that its men were "sitting ducks" for the terrorists.

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Inspector General CRPF (Kashmir) VS Yadav said the CRPF men were not unarmed when the attack took place. "We have a standard operating procedure and that was followed. One-third of the company was armed, one third was carrying the riot gear and one-third had lathis."

In the aftermath of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's hanging on February 9, the Jammu and Kashmir police had asked security forces, including CRPF, not to carry weapons while quelling protests.

Opposition parties in the state, like BJP and Panthers Party, have criticised this move, saying the government was not concerned about the "dying jawans".

Even a senior police officer, who did not want to be named, said only about 20 people in a company of 50 carry guns in a law and order situation. "There was no law and order situation in the area. The militants even crossed a CRPF bunker before entering the school compound," he said.

Meanwhile, CRPF and police officers bade a tearful adieu to the slain jawans -- assistant sub-inspector AB Singh, constables Om Prakash, L Parmol, Subhash and Satish Shah -- on Thursday.

CM Omar Abdullah rushed to Srinagar airport to pay his respects after television channels showed angry CRPF jawans questioning his absence at the wreath laying ceremony.

Curfew was imposed in the Valley to prevent spillover of anger over the killing of Altaf Ahmad Wani in CRPF firing soon after the terrorist attack. The ruling National Conference termed it a "cold-blooded murder".


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