SRI NAGAR: The Centre on Tuesday signalled the pullout of ‘additional troops’ inducted in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir for security duties beginning July last week, just before the abrogation of Article 370 which ensured the state’s special status. The decision to de-induct additional troops was taken after due assessment and “considerable improvement in the ground situation in the Valley”, a top security official said.
He said 20 of the 300 companies of paramilitary forces which were inducted had already left the Kashmir Valley from areas in Baramula and Bandipora, besides Srinagar. The pullout will continue in a phased manner, he said but gave no timeline by when the full withdrawal would be achieved. He, however, added the additional troops inducted “would not leave in one go”, but be de-inducted in phases as per periodic assessments of the ground situation.
Paramilitary forces have ‘almost wholly’ been withdrawn from the Jammu region, except from Poonch and some critical junctions, where presence of troops to ensure basic security remains an imperative still, officials said, adding that the majority of units pulled back were drawn from the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force.
The Centre had cancelled the Amarnath Yatra on August 3 and asked pilgrims to leave the state before rushing in about 50,000-70,000 additional paramilitary forces to the Valley ahead of the scrapping of J&K special status and bifurcation of the State into two UTs. The additional strength was to bolster the forces already stationed in the state and pre-empt possible outbreak of violence.
“We are keeping watch on the situation. The de-induction is also directly linked to the situation. If the authorities feel that de-induction of troops won’t impact the ground situation, then more troops will be sent back,” said a CRPF spokesperson.