After protest over absence, Omar pays tribute to CRPF men

After protest over absence, Omar pays tribute to CRPF men

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and a few of his colleagues rushed to the airport on Thursday afternoon to pay tributes before the bodies of the slain CRPF troops were flown to their respective destinations as CRPF personnel resented the absence of state political leaders at the wreath laying ceremony at the Police Control Room here.

Omar, accompanied by his deputy Tara Chand and Minister of State for Home Sajjad Kitchloo, rushed to the airport after rage overtook grief with some CRPF personnel targeting the chief minister for not being present at the ceremony held in memory of five of their colleagues who were killed in a fidayeen (suicide) attack on Wednesday.

“We die for the country, but there is no value for our lives. At least the chief minister should have come to see us. If a civilian dies in stone-throwing or during violence they (politicians) go to their house but there is no value for our lives,” a CRPF trooper said.
The other reason for the seething anger among CRPF personnel is the Jammu and Kashmir government’s directive asking them not to carry weapons while dealing with protesters.

Sources told Deccan Herald that only one out of the five CRPF personnel killed in the Bemina fidayeen attack on Wednesday was carrying a weapon. The directive to CRPF not to carry weapons came from the state government last month after protests erupted in the Valley against the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Sources said while the CRPF had agreed to not carry arms, the BSF rejected the proposal.

“Only 8,300 of the 25,000 personnel deployed in Srinagar, roughly one-third of the strength, are mandated to carry weapons,” a senior CRPF officer told Deccan Herald.
He said that the government’s directive not to carry weapons in an insurgency hit area means death warrant for them. “Last month Punjabi Taliban, which works under Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, had vowed that the next battlefield for all mujahideen will be the Kashmir Valley,” he said.

“Under the circumstances, the government should have ensured that the forces are adequately equipped to fight against the terrorists. But it seems Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wants to make CRPF cannon fodder,” he alleged.

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