After rushing 100 additional Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) companies to Kashmir, the government has decided to re-deploy Border Security Force (BSF) in Srinagar, which was taken off counter-insurgency operations in the Valley in 2005
Zonal Headquarters of J&K police vide order number 80 dated 22-02-2019 has ordered deployment of the BSF and ITBP coys in various areas of Srinagar.
“In order to strengthen the law and order grid presently available in Kashmir Zone, BSF/ITBP coys shall take over the static guard duties of CRPF cos deployed in Kashmir Zone,” the order reads.
At 16 sensitive places in the city, the BSF and ITBP have been asked to take over the static guard duties from the CRPF. This is for the first time since 2005 that BSF has been called for active duty in Srinagar. Though at the peak of summer unrest in 2016, BSF had been deployed in some city areas, it was for a brief period.
The latest order has come at a time when militancy is rising in the Valley with last week’s Pulwama suicide attack killing 49 CRPF personnel. Also, there are speculations that Article 35A, which grants special rights to the J&K citizens, is being scrapped by the Supreme Court next week.
“BSF is a more lethal force specialized in counterinsurgency than CRPF. The BSF is also better equipped in terms of weapons,” a police officer wishing anonymity told DH.
In 2005, after fighting militants for 14 years, the BSF was replaced by the CRPF in Kashmir. In the first phase of the de-induction, CRPF took over Srinagar city and Anantnag town from the BSF.
The decision to relieve BSF from counter-insurgency duties was taken by the then Congress-led UPA government after a group of ministers had recommended separate duties for various paramilitary forces.
The BSF had killed 2,800 militants during its 14 years of engagement in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir. That comprised 100 top commanders, including the prized scalp of Gazi Baba, who was India's most-wanted militant following the December 13, 2001, attack on the Parliament. The force had arrested 9,400 militants and seized 10,600 weapons.
The BSF troops were then moved to their primary duty of guarding the Line of Control and the international border.