TCN interview: “Number of bunkers in Srinagar has remained same, if not reduced,” says PRO CRPF

Women security personnel frisk a pedestrian during a surprise checking in Srinagar | Photo: PTI

To understand the current security scenario in Kashmir, the deployment of additional troops, hybrid militancy and the challenges forces face to deal with it,’s Kashmir’s correspondent Auqib Javeed spoke to Abhiram Pankaj, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the CRPF, Kashmir. 

Auqib Javeed |

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SRINAGAR – Kashmir valley is on edge following the targeted killing of civilians by suspected militants since the first week of October. 

Even after the deployment of additional troops in the valley especially in Srinagar city, there has been no let-up in civilian killings. 

On November 8, suspected militants shot dead a Jammu and Kashmir police official Tawseef Ahmad Wani in the Batamaloo area of Srinagar city. Barely 24 hours later, the gunman shot dead another civilian in the Bohri Kadal area of the capital city.

Hundreds of non-locals left the valley in October after the killing of some labourers. Following the killings, Home Minister Amit Shah rushed to the violence-hit region and reviewed the security scenario.  

On HM’s instructions, five companies of central paramilitary forces were deployed in the Valley mainly in Srinagar city in addition to 25 companies of the force sent last month.

The security forces have set up additional bunkers and checkpoints in Srinagar and have intensified the frisking in the city. The entire city has been turned into a fortress. 

The regional political parties in Kashmir have criticized the Modi led government for “faking normalcy” claims and “bringing back” the memories of the 1900s by deploying additional troops. However, despite more military boots, the militants managed to sneak in and carry out the attacks.  

To understand the current security scenario, deployment of additional troops, Hybrid militancy and the challenges forces face to deal with it,’s Kashmir’s correspondent Auqib Javeed spoke to Abhiram Pankaj, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the CRPF, Kashmir. 

Here are the experts:

What was the need for additional troop deployment in Kashmir?
See, you need to understand that CRPF is a federal police force, so, whenever our jawans are being deployed it is being done on the requisition of state administration. Both the accommodation and deployment are done by the state administration. Once deployment is done, CRPF performs its duties as per its training. CRPF works completely in aid to the civil police. All the duties are decided upon by the civil police in consultation with CRPF. We endeavour for peace and tranquillity in Kashmir. 

Why were public marriage halls in Srinagar occupied by CRPF?
It is required to be understood that wherever CRPF gets deployed, civil administration arranges for the accommodation. CRPF doesn’t occupy any place on its own. As regards accommodating troops in the marriage hall is concerned, I am being told that civil administration is making alternative accommodation available to the troops. 

Why were more troops rushed into Valley?
As you know the security scenario in Kashmir has been volatile following the targeted killing of civilians by militants since the beginning of October. Some troops were internally rationalised from within Kashmir and brought to Srinagar. Our job is to give a sense of security among common people. Many non-locals were leaving the valley after the killings and it was very critical to instil a sense of security in one and all. With the limited force, you need additional deployment to give some sort of visibility.

People maintain that more bunkers and checkpoints are bringing back the memories of the 1990s in Kashmir and are asking how can a bunker be an indication of peace?
This is just an exaggeration. I can tell you the number of bunkers in Srinagar city has remained the same if not reduced. This is a routine rationalisation of checkpoints by Civil police in consultation with CRPF. Let’s say. because of any diversion or any flyover, a particular checkpoint (Naka) is receiving very little traffic and therefore, becomes redundant. The review of the location of checkpoints (Nakas) identifies such redundant Nakas and relocates them to a place where more traffic can be tapped. Bunkers or checkpoints don’t indicate peace, rather, they are imperative for the security of a thickly populated city like Srinagar. Security, anywhere, comes at the cost of slight inconvenience. The idea is not to hassle the public at large but to check and deter those anti-social elements who attempt to disrupt the law and order. 

Having said that, I also reiterate that our boys have been sensitised and briefed to remain courteous and respectful with the general public at checkpoints during vehicle checking and frisking.  

Despite rushing additional forces, setting up more bunkers and frisking thoroughly, the militants managed to penetrate and carry out attacks. Your comments?
You need to understand the geography and importance of Srinagar city. The people from all the districts – including the North and South come from four sides. You have a floating population coming in all the time, so it is very difficult for security forces to check every person and vehicle coming to going out from the city. By setting-up bunkers and checkposts, you create a sense of deterrence so those anti-national elements are kept at bay. 

How many bunkers are in Srinagar from CRPF and how many new bunkers have been set up?
The exact figure will have to be obtained from the civil police. 

What is the security scenario in Kashmir? And what are the challenges?
The security scenario of the valley is stable and security forces are doing the best that they can to keep the city secure. 

Is hybrid militancy a new challenge for security forces?
Yes, it is always a challenge if the militant is not listed. However, intelligence and security forces are doing their best to tackle this challenge.


Auqib Javeed is a jouralist based in Kashmir. He tweets at @AuqibJaveed.