National

Get ready for the long haul in Kashmir, Centre tells forces

Students hold placards calling for boycott of exams in Srinagar on Wednesday, in protest against the security forces.  

The Home Ministry has asked the security forces to prepare for the long haul in the Kashmir Valley and has begun stacking up snow-suits, sleeping bags and boots for over six lakh Central armed police personnel posted there.

The Valley has been going through a severe wave of violence for the past three months where more than 70 people have died and more than 6,000 injured after the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen ''commander'' Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.

Though the government expects normality to return to the Valley once winter sets in, it has asked the security forces to prepare for the worst.

As reported earlier, the camps of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are bursting at the seams as the government rushed in additional forces in the past three months to quell the protests. The strength of other forces, like the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Border Security Force (BSF) were also augmented.

Senior Home Ministry officials have had a series of meetings with officials in J&K and have even asked the Army to lend 20,000 snow-suits. “The Home Ministry does not want to be caught napping when the security forces are caught in extreme weather conditions. We have already placed requests with the Army and have placed new orders with the manufacturers,” said the official.

‘New shells ineffective’

The official said the Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide (PAVA) shells, which was recommended by an expert committee constituted to look for alternatives to pellet guns, has been in use since July 17 but has failed to give the desired results.

“The PAVA shell is taking longer to be fired from the projectile. We have asked the Tekanpur factory of the BSF, which manufactures the shells, to improve it,” said the official.