In a first move post August 5, the government has withdrawn around 20,000 Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel from Kashmir following improvement in the situation in the Valley.
A senior security officer said owing to the improvement in the law and order situation in Kashmir, around 20 companies of CAPF have been withdrawn from the Valley.
“The de-inducted CAPF companies of forces include both Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men. They have already moved out of the Valley,” the officer, wishing not to be named, told Rising Kashmir.
The withdrawal of forces from the Valley came for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile Jammu Kashmir state into two union territories.
The Government of India moved a large number of forces to Kashmir valley to maintain law and order.
There were apprehensions in the security grid that the August 5 decision might stoke large-scale protests and clashes in the Valley.
The CAPFs were deployed across Kashmir along with the Police.
Besides, the forces were also guarding the places or jails where separatist leaders, mainstream politicians, activists, alleged stone pelters and over ground workers of militants were lodged.
Most of the top and middle-rung separatist leaders have been under preventive custody while mainstream politicians including two former chief ministers – Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti - are under detention or house arrest since August 5.
The incumbent Member of Parliament from Srinagar constituency and three-time chief minister, Farooq Abdullah was also placed under detention at his residence, which was later turned into a subsidiary jail when he was arrested under the Public Safety Act.
An official said the CAPF men had been working in tandem with the J&K Police to maintain law and order, and the situation had improved to large extent.
He said that of the 20 de-inducted CAPF companies, 16 belonged to BSF and four to CRPF.
Depending on the situation, the security officer said any decision on withdrawal of more CAPFs companies would be taken in a phased manner.
“If required, the forces will be de-inducted in a phased manner, but, there are no fresh orders about it,” he said.
Inspector General of Border Security Force (Kashmir frontier), Ajmal Singh said there was normalcy in Kashmir and the de-induction of forces’ companies was a normal exercise.
“The induction and de-induction of the forces’ is a normal exercise. These companies come when there are elections and they go back after polls are over. The movement of forces is a normal exercise. There is nothing to relate it to something,” Singh told reporters at BSF’s Kashmir frontier headquarters in Humhama on Monday.
After the GoI’s August 5 decision, Kashmir witnessed tensions amid clampdown but there were no large-scale protests and clashes in the Valley.