The Indian Army is still maintaining the control of security of 300 kms long Jammu-Srinagar national highway even after direction given by Defence Minister AK Antony that central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will takeover the control from army from January 15.
On Sunday, the army troops were still seen moving on national highway to clear the highway for security forces convoy and no one from CRPF was present on the spot.
On his visit to Jammu on January 12 during unified command meeting, Defence Minister AK Antony directed that CRPF will take over the control of ROP on Jammu-Srinagar national highway from army, from January 15 onwards - first time in 20 years after arms insurgency broke out in J&K.
But officials of CRPF couldn’t finalize the modalities with army and failed to take the ROP of national highway on Jan 15, but still at the end of the month of January, CRPF has not taken the ROP control.
Talking to HT, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) CRPF Jagroop Singh said, “We have not yet taken the ROP control because troop[s have not yet been released for this purpose. We are on the job and by Feb 25, we have to take complete ROP control on national highway.”
When asked whether they will be able to finalise the modalities by end of Feb, to which Singh replied, “Perhaps.”
The decision on replacing army from ROP duty by CRPF on national highway was taken by defence ministry after getting a request from ministry of home affairs to reduce visibility of the Army without diluting the counter-terrorist grid.
Army has been involved in ROP from past 20 years when the armed insurgency breakout in the state in 1989 and government had to call army as counter insurgency tool. Now, in present the main focus of army is to counter terrorism and minimise the role of army in other local issues of the state.
Firstly army was freed from maintaining the security of cities and now putting CRPF in opening of roads replacing army was considered to be a good move to minimise the load of army but the matter is still hanging in the air.