The government of India has decided to deploy Border Security Force personnel in Srinagar for 'static guard' duties, while the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would be dealing with the "law and order" situations only.
Static guard entails protection of vital government buildings and other installations. The BSF assumes this role in Srinagar once again after a gap of 14 years.
Of the 100 additional companies of paramilitary forces that arrived in Srinagar two days ago, 35 belong to the BSF.
"We will be doing the static guard duty only. We won't be dealing with the law and order," inspector general of BSF Abhinav Kumar told Greater Kashmir. A source said the force was temporarily deployed in Kashmir for a week during the 2016 uprising, but was withdrawn immediately.
A top CRPF official said that additional forces were flown to Kashmir as part of preparations for the upcoming LokSabha and the possible Assembly polls the way preparations had been made for panchayat and municipal elections last year.
"It is not that CRPF was going on a back-foot and quitting its bunkers and camps for accommodating BSF. We will primarily be dealing with the law and order challenges as there are apprehensions of protests and disturbances during the poll process by miscreants," he said.
He said besides the 100 additional companies, more personnel are being sent to Kashmir because "of the sensitivities involved in the election process" after the suicide attack on CRPF convoy that killed 40 personnel on February 14.
"This time the area going to polls is vast and that is why extra security arrangements are being made," the official said.
A source in the security grid, however, said that much depends on the Election Commission of India (ECI) team's J&K visit on March 4 and 5.
"If the ECI decides to hold LokSabha and Assembly polls together then the state might have to request the Centre for at least 300 more additional companies of forces," he said.
At present, 50 CRPF companies are deployed in Kashmir—40 in Kashmir and the rest in Jammu. Each company has at least 1000 men.
Also, the J&K has 80,000 strong police force, 40,000 of which can be deployed for election duties, a source said.
In a recent order issued by the additional director general of police (armed wing), policemen associated with the armed wing of the police, including those with the pipe band, have been asked to remain in "alert mode" for law and order duties on a short notice.