Panic in Kashmir after MHA orders deployment of 10,000 additional troops

Representational Pic
Representational Pic

Panic has gripped Kashmir after Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) ordered deployment of 10,000 additional paramilitary force personnel to the State for "maintaining law and order situations" and "strengthening counter-insurgency grid".

While the move has triggered fresh fears among people in theValley about scrapping of Article 35A, the police authorities termed the MHAorder a "routine exercise."

The additional forces readied for the deployment include 50companies of CRPF, 30 companies of SeemaSahsatraBal and 10 companies each ofBorder Security Forces and Indo Tibetan Border Police.

Interestingly, 9 companies of CRPF personnel on Parliamentduty and KanwariyaYatra in New Delhi would be part of this fresh deployment tothe State, which is presently under direct rule of the Centre.

A senior official said "additional forces" have been movedin when there are already 197 additional companies of paramilitary forcesstationed the Valley.

"These companies were sent for holding civic elections andAmaranth Yatra," the official said

The deployment was ordered on the day when National SecurityAdvisor AjitDoval returned to New Delhi after holding discussions with GovernorSatya Pal Malik, his Advisors and top brass of J&K police and intelligenceagencies, during his three-day stay in Kashmir.

Simultaneously, the zonal police headquarters Kashmir hasordered district-wise deployment of 80 paramilitary forces companies, beingrushed to Valley.

In another development, Senior Superintendent of Police(Armed), Police Control Room Jammu on Saturday asked all commandants of J&KArmed Police/India Reserve Police battalions and Principals of Police TrainingSchools of Jammu province to communicate about shortfall of riot-controlweapons.

"You are requested to communicate the shortfall of riot-control equipments/gas gun, TSMs etc (if any) to this (office)… for onwardsubmission to higher–ups," reads the message sent by the SSP.

According to the communiqué, described as "urgent", 100companies have been formed for special duties by mixing the manpower of unitsand training centers.

Principal Secretary, Home, ShaleenKabra said the additionaldeployment was a "routine exercise".

But, with each passing hour, the anxiety was deepening inKashmir, with mainstream politicians also fearing about scrapping of theconstitutional provisions granting special status to J&K.

From National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah to PDPPresident Mehbooba Mufti and Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone, all majormainstream players have cautioned New Delhi against tinkering with J&K'sspecial position.

"The matter is sub-judice, therefore it (Supreme Court)should be kept aloof from politicking. I would appeal (to the) government ofIndia to refrain from commenting on the issue till the final verdictcomes," Omar Abdullah had said on Thursday.

IANS adds:

Quoting sources, the wire agency IANS said the countdown forremoval of the Article 35A has started. "An elaborate contingency plan has beenworked out to take care of even the minutest details. How the law and ordersituation would behave; the response of over-ground and underground separatistcadre and also the response of the mainstream political leadership," it said."The orders seem to be clear, violence and attempts to disrupt peace byanti-national elements, in the garb of a public outcry to oppose the abrogationof Article 35A."

"The entire operation to deal with the law and order falloutin the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 35A has even beencode-named," the sources said.

Special flights carrying CAPFs have landed at the Srinagarairport during the last three days, while convoys carrying additional companiesof these forces are reaching the Valley through Jammu-Srinagar NationalHighway.

"All sensitive installations, including the airport, radiostation, Doordarshan Kendra, essential services like hydro-power generationprojects, power grid stations, water supplies, hospitals, paramilitary campsand the state police offices, down to the level of police stations and policeposts are getting additional paramilitary deployments for extraordinarysecurity cover."

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