SRINAGAR: To counter the increasing frequency and lethality of militant attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has armoured itself with the French-made Renault Sherpa Light Scout Armoured Personnel Carrier.
Manufactured by Renault Trucks Defense, the shiny black Sherpa Light vehicle — equipped with protection systems against bullets and improvised explosive devices—was used by the paramilitary force for the first time in Kashmir during the recent encounter with two Lashkar-e-Toiba fidayeen near the CRPF camp at Karan Nagar in Srinagar.
A security official said the Sherpa vehicle is bullet-proof and fitted with cameras. There is a screen fitted next to the driver’s seat where CCTV footage is displayed and personnel inside can know what is happening outside and how to react to the situation.
The use of the vehicle assumes significance in view of the fact that in at least two encounters with security forces, militants had used armour-piercing bullets to cause casualties among the security forces.
Ravideep Singh Sahi, Inspector General of CRPF, told The New Indian Express the vehicle had been hired from the National Security Guard. “It is a slightly advanced bulletproof vehicle…. It is more comfortable and manoeuvrable. The shape is different and size is small,” Sahi said.
Another security official said the vehicle could accommodate at six to seven persons, including the driver, who can fire from inside to target with accuracy militant positions without facing any threat of receiving bullets from the other side.
The official said the vehicle was suited for reconnaissance, patrol, surveillance and surprise operations. “Since the vehicle is special, therefore personnel have to be trained to use it proficiently during anti-militancy operations.