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J&K: CRPF may be ‘shifted’ from 4 areas

A senior officer said in the past three years,the number of targeted attacks on security forces has increased.

Written by VijaitaSingh | New Delhi | Published: September 16, 2013 1:16:11 am

Gagran in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district is not the only location where the CRPF camp will be replaced by the state police. There are four other areas from where the state government wants security forces removed,reportedly owing to public pressure.

Sources said though the government decided to shift the Gagran CRPF camp following outrage over the alleged killing of five men by security forces in the region on September 7 and 11,it was not ready to remove them entirely. The state only wants to “relocate” the CRPF from some points,sources said. Officials said while thinning of the forces was fine,removing them altogether “could prove dangerous for security in the region”.

The CRPF,meanwhile,wants to withdraw at least ten battalions (roughly 9,000 men) from across J&K and put them on duty in areas affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE). Official sources said the CRPF proposal has always met with opposition from the state administration.

“They want to relocate us but they do not have the place and infrastructure to accommodate such a large number of men. They just want the presence of CRPF in the state. Whenever we ask them about the withdrawal of forces,our request is always turned down citing security reasons. Removal of security camps following public outrage is dangerous,” said a senior officer.

Of the four places from where the government is contemplating removing the camps,two fall under the Army,and one each under the state police and the CRPF.

A senior officer said in the past three years,the number of targeted attacks on security forces has increased. This year alone,44 security personnel have been killed,the most in the past three years.

The decision to remove the Gagran camp was taken in the wake of protests sparked by the death of four men allegedly at the hands of the CRPF at a security checkpoint on September 7. An internal MHA report said one of the four men was identified as Abdullah Haroon,a resident of Pakistan and an active LeT militant suspected to be involved in the Hyderpora attack on the Army in June,and the murder of renowned cardiologist and former director of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science,Dr Sheikh Jalal-ud-din,in Pampore in July. The three others were identified as Tausif Ahmad Bhat,Mohammad Yusuf Sofi and Toufiq Ahmad Mir.

Though the J&K police claim the three did not have any police records,the MHA report states Bhat has been arrested twice under the Public Safety Act and Mir was involved in stone pelting incidents.

Earlier,a BSF unit was removed from Ramban area in Jammu district following the killing of four civilians allegedly in firing by the security forces.

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