Deccan Chronicle

Forces deploy 1 million to guard every inch of Kashmir valley

Deccan Chronicle| Vikram Sharma

Published on: August 17, 2019 | Updated on: August 17, 2019

To keep the peace' following Article 370 dilution, state bifurcation.

Police personnel block the road near the residences of former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar on Saturday. (Photo: AP)

Police personnel block the road near the residences of former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar on Saturday. (Photo: AP)

Srinagar: Close to 9.5 lakh personnel from the Army, paramilitary and special forces besides Indian Air Force are guarding every inch of Kashmir Valley amid heightened tensions bet-ween India and Pakistan post the scrapping of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir.

While majority of forces were stationed in the Valley, the Centre, over the last month has deployed over 1.75 lakh additional personnel — which is unprecedented in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.

Besides a massive troop build-up, all forces put together have flown in at least 100 doctors to cater to medical emergencies among soldiers and have stocked up on medicines and rations to last them for three to four months.

Several dozen vehicles have been rented out by the Jammu and Kashmir police to ferry soldiers. Army vehicles have been deployed to facilitate travel in interior areas of the Valley, particularly in the hotspots of South Kashmir.

Shops are shut and locals confined to the four walls of their houses. On the streets, it is a sea of soldiers covering every nook and corner of the Kashmir Valley, with officials describing the preparations as "war like."

While the number of troops deployed answers the question as to how the Centre is able to ensure peace, what is bothering the top brass in the security establishment is for how long will the massive deployment remain in the Valley.

Top sources in the security establishment told Deccan Chronicle that the major deployment, when it comes to numbers, is that of the CRPF.

In the Valley alone, besides the regular deployment of 60 battalions of CRPF, which roughly translates into nearly 60,000 men (each battalion comprises close to 1,000 personnel), the Centre had deployed an additional 40,000 personnel which takes the present deployment of CRPF personnel to about one lakh personnel.

"About 10 battalions (10,000 men) had arrived a month ahead of Amarnath Yatra," a CRPF official said.

Besides, 30,000 additional troops were sent in to the valley in the days leading to Centre’s announcement on August 5," the CRPF official added.

The CRPF is the force which tackles stone-pelting and takes care of other law and order situations. Assisted by the Jammu and Kashmir police, it also takes up counter insurgency operations along with the Rashtriya Rifles.

Besides 40,000 additional CRPF personnel, the Centre has also pressed into service an additional 30 companies of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) besides at least 12 companies each of the BSF and Indo-Tibetan Bordet Police (ITBP) who are deployed along with CRPF for law and order duties. Each company comprises roughly 100 personnel.

On the International Border (IB), the BSF has a deployment of nearly 60,000 men which has also been increased in the last one month.

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