NEW DELHI: All personnel of paramilitary forces deployed in Jammu & Kashmir will now be entitled to take commercial flights to either join duty or go on leave. The decision comes in the wake of the Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy in which 40 personnel were killed.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday issued an order saying it “has approved the entitlement of air travel on Delhi-Srinagar, Srinagar-Delhi, Jammu-Srinagar and Srinagar-Jammu sectors to all personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).” Previously, only officers in the rank of Inspectors and above were allowed air travel on these sectors.
As many as 65,000 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel are deployed in the state as part of 65 battalions, apart from units of the Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal and the National Security Guard. They render a variety of roles in the internal security grid of Kashmir Valley.
The decision of the government comes in the backdrop of questions being raised as to why these troops were not allowed to travel by air so that the risk and threat of travelling by road in large convoys in the Kashmir Valley is eliminated.
A senior official said sub-officers, the ranks which witnessed maximum casualty in the Pulwama attack, will now be able to book tickets on regular commercial flights and claim reimbursement from their organisation or force for this travel to and from Kashmir.