Three and a half years after the Union government revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir amid deployment of large additional troops, it is discussing a proposal to withdraw the Indian Army completely from the Valley hinterland. If approved, the Army will have presence only on the Line of Control (LoC), reported The Indian Express
Officials in the security establishment said the proposal to withdraw the Army from Kashmir hinterland has been under discussion for about two years and is at an “advanced stage” now with the involvement of the Union Ministry of Defence, Union Ministry of Home Affairs, armed forces and the J&K police. It is proposed that the CRPF would fill in for the army personnel removed from the Valley to meet the challenges of both law and order and counter-terror operations.
“The matter is under serious discussion at inter-ministerial level and it is understood to be feasible. In a way, the decision has been taken and it is a matter of when it will be done. Ultimately, however, it will be a political call,” a senior security establishment officer told The Indian Express.
Texts and calls to the CRPF, J&K Police and the Army did not elicit a response till the time of going to press.
According to officials, the Army maintains a strength of around 1.3 lakh personnel in the entire J-K of which around 80,000 are deployed on the border. About 40,000-45,000 personnel from the Rashtriya Rifles have the mantle of conducting counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir’s hinterland.
The CRPF is said to have a strength of close to 60,000 personnel in J-K, of which more than 45,000 are deployed in Kashmir Valley. J-K Police is 83,000 strong. Apart from this, a few companies from other Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) remain deployed in the Valley. The figures for CAPFs fluctuate depending on the security situation in the Valley.