Notwithstanding the demand of Jammu and Kashmir government for greater role of CRPF in the militancy-hit state, the Centre is contemplating to move out at least 23 battalions of paramilitary forces and shift them to left wing extremism-affected areas.
As many as 16 battalions of the CRPF -- 10 from Kashmir valley and six from other areas, five of Border Security Force and two of Indo-Tibetan Border Police -- are likely to be moved out of the state soon, official sources said. The total number of the personnel to shifted is around 23,000.
The sources said a decision to this effect may be taken after the completion of the Amarnath Yatra, which is scheduled to end early next month.
They said the CRPF, which has over 75,000 personnel in the valley out of which one-third were deployed on duty with the counter-insurgency grid, needed to be trimmed down.
The review of CRPF deployment shows that most of its personnel, supposedly on duty with the counter insurgency grid, were deployed on guard duty of senior state police officials and ministers, the sources said.
While Naxal-affected states were starving for a bare minimum support from the Centre, the number of paramilitary forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir was too much, they said.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, during his visit to the Kashmir valley on June 11, had said in his address at the Unified Headquarters meeting that the presence of paramilitary forces in the state needed to be cut down so that more personnel was made available for Naxal-affected states.
Chidambaram had given six weeks to the state government to work out a plan for releasing the paramilitary battalions after which they have to be inducted in Naxal-infested states like Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand.
He had called for reorganisation and reorientation of Central paramilitary forces, especially CRPF, in the state and gradual handing over of their duties of guarding vital installations and protecting VIPs to the local police.
Senior Home Ministry officials said the CRPF deployment in the state was as per the arrangements made in early 1990s when the militancy was as its peak.
"Now that militancy has come down and agitational activities increased, it will be appropriate that the state police takes over the primary role," an official said.
Moreover, there was a growing disenchantment within the paramilitary forces, especially CRPF, with one of its senior officials writing a letter to headquarters claiming that at least 15 CRPF personnel were left with broken teeth, loss of eyesight and injured limbs as mobs specifically targeted them during recent agitations in the state.
The registration of a murder case against a CRPF man in North Kashmir in which the complainant was none other than the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Baramulla), somewhat strained the ties between the CRPF and local police.