As army commanders oppose lifting of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from selected districts of Jammu & Kashmir, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said the force did not have a problem operating without the Act’s protective shield.
CRPF director general K Vijay Kumar also said the security situation in J&K had improved vastly despite some grenade attacks.
"Overall, if you see the statistics of J-K. It has been one of the best years despite certain incidents. In terms of tourism or other activities, which are the indices of normalcy, it has been one of the best years," Kumar said at a Press conference ahead of the Force’s Raising Day.
“There are one or two points about the protection that the law (AFSPA) affords… as long as the protection is available, there is no issue as far as CRPF is concerned,” he told reporters.
But he was reluctant to take more questions on the controversy over withdrawal of AFSPA from parts of the state, insisting that the Force would comply with the policy enunciated by the home ministry.
Other senior officers of the CRPF – that has 70 battalions deployed in J&K – later said they believed it was high time the government takes steps to withdraw AFSPA from Kashmir.
“It would send a much-desired political message to the people,” one officer who has served in J&K said.
Kumar said the CRPF’s deployment in the state had declined to 70 battalions over the last few years from a peak of 75 battalions. Each battalion has a sanctioned strength of 1050 personnel but its operational strength is nearly half this number.