National Defence, New Delhi, 26 July 2017
The number of stone pelting incidents have gone down and the security situation in Kashmir has improved, CRPF DG, RR Bhatnagar, informed the media persons in a press conference held a day before CRPF is celebrating it’s 78th birth anniversary. Last year, there were 1590 incidents of stone pelting in the Kashmir valley but have come down to 424 this year due to new SOP adopted by the CRPF.
“Stone pelting, this year we have has about 424 incidents, which are much less in number than the last year. In terms of stone pelting, we have got our drills together, we have got our new SOPs. We have got good protective gear”, said DG CRPF.
“Also now using less lethal ammunition in controlling these violent crowds and our training facilities at Lekhpura and in Srinagar, we are able to train our troops and even the new troops who are being inducted to be able to react as proper group in close coordination with J&K police and will be able to contain the stone pelting with minimum co-lateral damage and also in an effective manner”, Bhatnagar added.
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DG CRPF attributed the reduction in stone pelting incidents to a combination of factors at play. “They are less than half of the last year. But why have they gone down is a mixed phenomenon. It is a mix of everything. It is a mix of what NIA is doing. It is a mix of state police and state agencies are doing. The kind of control that is there. So the efforts, of the law breakers and the efforts of the stone pelters and the violent mobs is effectively blocked and that is one of the main reason why stone pelting has come down”.Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar also said that following the attack on Amarnath Yatra, CRPF has set up more check points in collaboration with J&K Police. On 10th July this year in a terror attack, 8 hindu pilgrims (Amarnath Yatris) were killed when a bus from Gujarat split from the convoy.
“As you are aware, given the security scenario there and intelligence input, a system was devised by which the yatra was to be conducted in terms of convoy, in terms of ROP duties, in terms of timings and so on. And this particular incident was because of the party was travelling outside the parameters of the security arrangements that have been made for the yatra. Off course, then questions comes, the vehicle should have been stopped, could have been stopped and taken to a more secure place. Even though they started on time but they got delayed because of different reasons”.
“So what we have done after that in collaboration with JK police we have now set up more check points so that people who are come in from different points, because so many people come from different points who go for site seeing and they may be staying at different places and may be joining different routes at different places. So now efforts have been made so that all vehicles which are travelling during the time on which there is no ROP. They are being stopped and they are being taken to safe locations at the Yatri camp, police locations or CRPF camps and the night time bandobast has also been increased”.
CRPF is the lead counter insurgency Force and largest amongst Central Armed Police Force with 243 Battalions which include 5 Signal Battalions, 6 Mahila Battalions, 15 RAF Battalions, 10 COBRA Battalions, Special Duty Group, Parliament Duty Group and 4 VIP Security Battalion. This year CRPF killed 75 militants, arrested 252 militants and recovered 118 arms from them in J&K alone.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.