Additional forces sent to Kashmir in Aug start to leave

Representative image. (PTI photo)

With the situation in Kashmir gradually returning to normalcy, the additional security forces which were rushed to the Valley ahead of abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, have begun to leave the region.

More than 600 companies (60,000) additional central armed police force (CAPF) personnel were rushed to Kashmir in later part of July, ahead of the government of India’s decision of scrapping special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories. 

A senior police official told DH that at least forty companies (4,000 men) of CAPF have left Kashmir in recent days. “These forces personnel packed their bags and left Kashmir following improvement in the situation in the Valley. The decision on withdrawal of more forces would be taken in the coming days, depending on the overall security situation in the Valley,” he said.

The officer revealed that there was a high-level security review meeting scheduled in New Delhi later this week, “where the issue of withdrawal of additional forces would be finalized.”

While there was an apprehension of large-scale violence in Kashmir post the abrogation of Article 370, the situation by-and-large remained peaceful in the last four months. Authorities had imposed strict restrictions across Kashmir from August 5 onwards and also enforced a communication blockade, snapping landline, mobile phone and internet services.

Most of the mainstream political leaders, including three former chief ministers, were also taken into custody to ensure no mobilization of people occurs to protest against the Center’s unilateral decision of scrapping Article 370.

While landline and post-paid mobile services were restored gradually till October 14, pre-paid mobile and internet services continue to remain snapped. Also, most of the political leaders continue to remain under detention.

“The deployment on roads across the Valley is being trimmed and till now, there has been no huge incident. In the last four months, the forces didn’t face any huge challenge in dealing with protesters like they did during the 2016 unrest,” a CRPF official told DH.

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