Amid attacks on civilians,more CRPF troops set to reach Kashmir

Updated on Nov 10, 2021 06:12 AM IST

Five CRPF companies – approximately 500 personnel – will be rushed to Kashmir for deployment mainly in Srinagar city in addition to 25 companies of the force sent last month

Paramilitary troopers stand guard during a random search along a street in Srinagar on Tuesday. (AFP)
Paramilitary troopers stand guard during a random search along a street in Srinagar on Tuesday. (AFP)
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will send additional troops to Kashmir in the wake of fresh killings of civilians there, people familiar with the development said.

Five companies – approximately 500 personnel – will be rushed to the Valley for deployment mainly in Srinagar city in addition to 25 companies of the force sent last month .

Terrorists gunned down a Kashmiri salesman in the old city area of Srinagar on Monday evening, the second targeted killing since Sunday. A total of 13 targeted killings have taken place in Kashmir since October 1, including those of five non-local workers. These incidents, which have created a panic in the Valley, were also reviewed by union home minister Amit Shah last month during his visit there. Shah asked security forces to take steps to make sure civilians are not targeted and terrorism is wiped out from the Valley.

The people cited above said the fresh five companies will move to Kashmir from Delhi as J&K police and CRPF both have increased the number of boots on the ground .

“We are checking close to 8,000 vehicles and frisking 10,000-15,000 people every day apart from counter-terrorism operations being carried out by specialized units in coordination with the local police and Army,” said one person, a security force officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Apart from CRPF, the Border Security Force (BSF) has also sent close to two dozen companies to Kashmir in the last 45 days to assist other forces.

The CRPF has about 60 battalions (a battalion has around 1,000 personnel) in Kashmir valley apart from very few units of other central armed police forces (CAPFs) or central paramilitary forces. The BSF mostly is deployed at the border near Jammu and is only called for additional law and order duties during major incidents.

Experts termed the incidents of civilians’ killings as desperate attempts to show that they are relevant.

Sameer Patil, Fellow at the International Security Studies Programme at Gateway House, said: “This is the last phase of militancy (in Kashmir) as militants are now desperate. The security forces, over past years, have been able to crackdown on their commanders as well as new recruits. By targeting common people like vendors and shopkeepers, they (militants) are trying to show that they are still relevant. I will also say that this violence will not continue for a long term as this doesn’t advances their cause as this will ultimately be condemned by locals”.

Ajay Sahni, executive director of Institute of Conflict Management, also said that “civilians were soft targets who were being targeted in the absence of any effective target as the security establishments are now well guarded”.

The Resistance Front (TRF), an arm of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit, has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

The wave of violence began on October 2, when two civilians, Majid Guroo and Mohammad Shafi, were shot dead in Srinagar. On October 5, three civilians, Makhan Lal Bindroo, a Kashmiri Pandit and well-known pharmacist in Srinagar; Virender Paswan, a street vendor from Bihar’s Bhagalpur; and Mohammad Shafi Lone, head of a taxi union in Bandipora district, were killed in terror attacks.

On October 7, two teachers – Supinder Kaur, principal of the Government Boys Higher Secondary School, and Deepak Chand, a teacher at the same school in Srinagar’s Eidgah area – were shot dead by gunmen inside the school.

On October 16, a street vendor from Bihar, Arvind Kumar Sah, and a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh, Sagheer Ahmad, were gunned down in Srinagar and Pulwama, respectively. On October 17, two more non-local labourers from Bihar, Raja Reshi and Joginder Reshi, were killed by terrorists in the Wanpoh area of Kulgam district.

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