RPF officer transferred: DG

The Railway Protection Force official in Budgam who had issued a controversial letter about “deteriorating situation” in Jammu and Kashmir has been transferred, RPF DG Arun Kumar said on Monday.

In the letter, RPF Assistant Security Commissioner (Budgam) Sudesh Nugyal asked employees to stock ration for at least four months, store drinking water for seven days and fill vehicles fully to deal with the issue of law and order for a long period as there is a “forecast of deteriorating situation” in Kashmir.

“The officer who had issued the order has been transferred. A senior official has been brought in to take charge in the absence of the senior RPF official who has gone on study leave,” the RPF DG told PTI.

The letter created a flutter and was shared widely on social media, including by former chief minister Omar Abdullah, who questioned the motive behind such a missive.

The railways, however, clarified that the communication had no basis and the official had no authority to issue it.

Moradabad Senior Divisional Security Commissioner  (Sr DSC) Sandeep Ravivanshi has now been posted in Srinagar, Kumar said.

According to the letter, “As per inputs received from different security agencies and SSP/GRP/SINA (senior superintendent of police Government Railway Police, Srinagar) regarding forecast of deteriorating situation in Kashmir valley and issue of law and order for a long period, a precautionary security meeting was held on July 27.”

Nugyal asked employees to take precautionary measures, including stocking up ration for at least four months and shifting their families out of the Valley.

“At least four-month dry ration should be purchased in advance to meet any crisis situation. Store drinking water for at least seven days consumption. Staff should keep their ‘pitthu’ bag ready with sufficient amount of eatables, drinking water, chocolates, money etc for emergency purpose,” the letter said.

However, a clarification was issued by a railways board spokesperson, saying the letter was sent without any authority by the next in line to the senior divisional security commissioner, who had proceeded on one-year study leave on July 26.

“The next in line issued this letter based on his own perception which has no basis and is not authorised to issue any such letter.

“It is also clarified that the letter does not have any approval from authorising authority. IG (NR) RPF is being sent to Kashmir to assess the situation and take corrective action,” the spokesperson said.

Kumar said the Railway Protection Force (RPF) is awaiting the report of RPF IG Sanjay Sankrityayan, who is on a tour of the state, for further action.

The controversy comes amid criticism of the Centre by a section of Kashmiri leaders to send 100 more companies (10,000 personnel) of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to the state. The government had said the troops were being deployed to strengthen the counter-insurgency grid and law and order duties in the Kashmir Valley.