Infiltration up in Kashmir, no troop reduction: CRPF


New Delhi : The paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Friday ruled out the possibility of troop reduction in the Jammu and Kashmir valley as infiltration from across the border had escalated in the region.

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“Incidents of violence have come down in the Kashmir valley, but at the same time infiltration is on the rise. Terrorism is still intact and militants are trying to regroup. They are continuously planning something or other,” S.I.S. Ahmed, CRPF director general, told reporters here.

“We should not withdraw or cut troops at any cost from the valley, but at certain places like community centres, schools and other public places, we are relocating troops to minimise inconvenience to residents there,” Ahmed said at the annual CRPF press conference.

The CRPF, which is responsible for maintaining security in Kashmir along with the Border Security Force (BSF), has more than 200 battalions with a total strength of 260,000 troopers and officials. The force has deployed 72 battalions, around 40 percent of the force, to quell insurgency and maintain law and order in the terror-hit state.

The CRPF stance is at variance with that of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has been continuously demanding a troop cut in Kashmir. The PDP had also threatened to pull out from the ruling alliance with Congress over the issue.

Ahmed said the force had this year neutralised 71 terrorists and apprehended 206 others besides seizing 127 weapons, 116 kg of explosives and 60 grenades in Jammu and Kashmir. “During the course of action, CRPF lost 12 of its gallant personnel besides injuries to 37 others,” Ahmed said.

He said CRPF would be taking complete charge of the valley from the BSF next year – a move that was earlier scheduled for this year. There are currently five battalions of BSF deployed in Srinagar.

Talking about insurgency in the northeast, Ahmed held that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was providing direct and indirect support to the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

“We have received information through intelligence inputs that Pakistan’s secret agency ISI is backing the ULFA as the agency has a stronghold in one of our neighbouring countries,” Ahmed said, adding however that there was no proof that ISI was backing Maoist groups as well.

The top official informed that 47 battalions deployed in the northeastern states – Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh – have killed 14 extremists beside apprehending 894 others. A large amount of arms and ammunition was also recovered.

Ahmed said that the force had also carried out effective operations in the Left Wing Extreme (LWE) affected states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh.

“We have neutralised 213 militants and apprehended 1,800 others this year. But also lost 55 of our brave soldiers. Over 200 troopers also suffered critical injuries,” he added.

He said that the Rapid Action Force, formed in October 1992 to deal with communal riots and riot like situations, had been deployed over 300 times across the country to restore peace in affected areas.

Ahmed added that CRPF would deploy 118 companies in Gujarat before the state assembly elections in December.