New Delhi: The Centre ordered Wednesday ‘immediate’ withdrawal of about 10,000 paramilitary personnel from the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
This is the biggest de-induction of these forces after additional troops were rushed to the UT post the abrogation of the Article 370 of the Constitution. It gave the erstwhile state a unique status. Officials said that the decision to withdraw the paramilitary forces was taken after the Ministry of Home Affairs reviewed the deployment of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in the UT.
The Home Ministry had last withdrawn 10 CAPF companies from the UT in May, while 72 such units were taken out in December last year. A senior official told this agency that a total of 100 CAPF companies have been ordered to be withdrawn ‘immediately’. They have been asked to revert to their base locations in the country.
As per the directions, a total of 40 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 20 each of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) will be taken out from Jammu and Kashmir by this week.
The CRPF has been asked to make arrangements for air lifting of these units to Delhi and other locations, they said. A CAPF company has an operational strength of about 100 personnel.
“The units that are being withdrawn are deployed both in Jammu and Srinagar. It was felt that the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist grid is intact in the UT. These additional units that were sent in last year can be de-inducted giving them the much required rest, recuperation and training,” a senior CAPF officer said.
Also, he said, with the winters soon setting in, it would have been an onerous task to keep these units in make-shift and temporary dwelling units especially in the Kashmir valley region.
With the latest de-induction, the lead counter-terrorist force CRPF will have strength of about 60 battalions (about 1,000 personnel in each battalion) in the Kashmir valley apart from very few units of the other CAPFs.