NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday ordered an “immediate” withdrawal of around 10,000 paramilitary personnel from Jammu and Kashmir, making it the biggest withdrawal of armed force personnel from the Valley since August last year when thousands of soldiers were deployed before the Article 370 was abrogated and the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories (UTs).
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs decided to withdraw 40 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 20 companies each of three other paramilitary forces deployed in J&K — Border Security Force (BSF), CISF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). The troops have been asked to report “to their respective locations”.
Security officials said the decision to withdraw the troops was taken after a comprehensive review of the security situation in the UT of J&K, in which the situation in the Valley was found to have improved. The officials added that a large number of troops, who have been deployed in the UT for more than a year, needed “rest, recuperation and training”.
Around 60,000 troops of the Central Armed Police Forces were additionally deployed in August 2019 to maintain law and order. In May, 10 companies of the CAPFs were withdrawn from J&K. while in December last year, the MHA had withdrawn around 82 companies of various paramilitary forces.
One CAPF company comprises around 100 personnel. The CRPF, the country’s leading force dealing with internal security situations, has been asked to make arrangements for airlifting of their units to Delhi and other locations, officials said. The officials added that the units deployed both in J&K are being withdrawn. Security officials claimed that there is greater support from the public in general because of which counter-terror operations are being conducted without loss of civilian lives.
Stone pelting incidents
In 2018, there were 532 incidents of stone-pelting in Kashmir, 389 in 2019, but only 102 such incidents were reported this year, so far.