Additional 100 central force companies likely in Kashmir
An additional 100 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) will be deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to reinforce counter-insurgency operations and maintain law and order, the Union home ministry has written in a communique sent to the state chief secretary, home secretary and the director general of police (DGP).
In the letter sent late on Thursday, Mukesh Taterway of the home ministry’s state division wrote, “In order to strengthen (the) counter insurgency grid as well as for maintaining (the) law and order situation in J&K, deployment of additional 100 companies of CAPFs shall be made.” A senior police officer said the companies would replace paramilitary units in the state.
One company comprises around 120 men. Of the 100 companies, 50 will be from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 10 from the Border Security Force (BSF), 30 from the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and 10 from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), according to the letter.
The companies have yet to be moved, but concerns have already surfaced in Kashmir over the proposed additional deployment. Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal was the first to react to the letter being circulated widely on social media.
“This MHA communiqué regarding deployment of additional 100 Cos of CAPF is fueling huge anxiety in Kashmir. No one knows why this sudden mobilization of forces is being done. Rumour is that something sinister is about to happen. Article 35a? It is going to be a long night,” he tweeted.
Article 35A grants the Jammu and Kashmir legislature the right to determine the criteria for permanent residency in the state and bestow residents with special rights and privileges for acquiring property and government jobs, among others.
Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti also took to Twitter. “Centre’s decision to deploy additional 10,000 troops to the Valley has created fear psychosis amongst people. There is no dearth of security forces in Kashmir. J&K is a political problem which won’t be solved by military means. GOI needs to rethink & overhaul its policy.”
Muneer Khan, additional director general of police, law and order, Jammu and Kashmir, said the additional companies from outside would replace training companies of paramilitary forces in the state. He appealed to the people to ignore rumour mongers. “One hundred companies of paramilitary forces will replace training companies, which are deployed for various duties since last year starting from the local body, panchayat and parliamentary polls. There are more than 200 training companies at present, performing duties in Kashmir since September last year and which are to be replaced in a phased manner,” he said.
They are not being trained, hence regular companies are being brought in to replace them, he added. “Training companies cannot be deployed at a stretch unless there is some extraordinary situation. They are overstretched now. They are performing duties since September, hence have to be replaced. It is a routine process,” he said.
“I don’t know who is spreading these rumours. They are doing harm to the people because such rumours will help hoarders make quick money via the black market,” he added.