Following Wednesdays attack in Srinagar in which five CRPF personnel were killed,CRPF DG Pranay Sahay on Thursday said they could take a relook at the standard operating procedure being followed that only one-third (of the personnel) will carry arms during law and order duty.
It has now emerged that only 12 of the 50 personnel present in the Bemina playground,where the two armed militants struck yesterday,were armed. In the past,the CRPF has written twice to the Jammu & Kashmir Police,saying it will not follow their orders on not carrying arms when deployed on law and order duty in Srinagar.
The Home ministry said today that two CRPF units came under fire in yesterdays attack which lasted for about 20 minutes. It was only after the second attack that the J&K Police and CRPF battalion swung into action and fired in retaliation, said a source.
Sources said the CRPF personnel had been stationed in the area on law and order duty following the hartal called by separatist groups. The militants attacked the CRPF personnel first at the school playground,where they hurled grenades and opened fire. Two vehicles were damaged in the attack. Then they attacked the second CRPF unit stationed at Bemina Chowk.
The pattern of incidents suggests this was the handiwork of Lashkar-e-Toiba. One of the militants could be a local. Only one of the five slain CRPF personnel was carrying an AK-47, said Sahay.
After four men were killed in retaliatory fire by the force last month during protests against the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru,the state administration had asked the CRPF not to carry weapons while patrolling the streets of Srinagar.
The Home ministry has decided to pull out five battalions of CRPF from Kashmir. They will be replaced by the Sashastra Seema Bal men.
Group visa for Pakistanis Put on hold
The proposed group tourist visa facility for Pakistanis,which was slated to roll out Friday,has been put on hold due to growing unease in bilateral ties following the killing of two Indian soldiers along the LoC and Wednesdays attack in Srinagar. We are not going to operationalise the group visa facility to be offered to Pakistani
nationals from Friday, confirmed a Home Ministry official.