CRPF to take front role in Kashmir before 2024 general elections

CRPF man patrols the street in Srinagar
A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer patrols on an empty street in Srinagar on August 5, 2020 | Photo: Reuters

SRINAGAR — Before the general elections going to be held in 2024, CRPF will be the force responsible for counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir Valley. Reports said that the Ministry of Home Affairs has virtually given a nod to the proposal of replacing the army in Kashmir.

Reports added that Central Reserve Police Force will be inducted in a few districts of both Kashmir and Jammu regions before being given complete responsibility to deal with militancy.

Sources said that CRPF is working towards reducing the age profile of its troops in the valley by rotating younger troops from other battalions as also inducting newly recruited soldiers into the region, however, the leadership role will be assigned to senior officers.

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Reports said that MHA is keen to project normalcy in Kashmir before the general elections. The role of the army has not been decided yet, if sources are to be believed, their strength will be reduced and may be used as a backup during anti-militant operations if the need arises.

Harsha Kakkar, a former Major General, said that the CRPF has some experience with counter-insurgency, having been involved in anti-Naxal operations for a prolonged duration. He, however, added that dealing with insurgency in Nexal areas is quite different from Kashmir.

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“The MHA is eager to project normalcy in the valley, especially after the removal of Article 370 and imposition of Central rule. It could be a major election plank for forthcoming elections in 2024, apart from being exploited for possible J&K elections, if held this year.

“There is no doubt that this decision is likely to be implemented in a rush as the government is seeking to draw political mileage from it, especially with the ongoing G-20 Presidency. It could push all progress made over years into jeopardy over multiple shortcomings, which must be addressed prior to the changeover,” the retired army officer opines.

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