The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been allotted land at 10 more locations in the Kashmir valley, Kuldiep Singh, Director General, CRPF, said on Thursday.
Mr. Singh said that CRPF personnel deployed in Jammu & Kashmir were living and working from various private properties, which included those belonging to the Kashmiri Pandits. Many Pandits were forced to migrate out of the valley in the 1990s owing to terrorist attacks.
The DG said that the force has been allotted 524 marlas (about 65 acres) of land at 10 locations to build their camps.
“If any Kashmiri Pandits come and claim their property, we will promptly vacate the premises. As of now, we are not present in any school,” Mr. Singh, who was addressing the media on the occasion of the CRPF’s 83rd Raising Day parade, said.
The CRPF is one of the largest Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) deployed in Jammu & Kashmir. It is housed in over 700 properties in J&K, including government buildings, hospitals and orchards, among others.
The officer said that the situation in J&K was “not out of hand” and after the revocation of special status of the erstwhile State on August 5, 2019, the number of incidents of stone throwing had fallen to nil.
Mr. Singh said the from March 1, 2021 to March 16 this year, as many as 175 terrorists were killed and 183 surrendered in J&K, while in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas, the number of Maoists who were killed and who surrendered stood at 19 and 699, respectively.
When asked if efforts were made in J&K, as has been done in LWE areas, to convince people to surrender rather than getting killed in encounters, Mr. Singh said, “CRPF’s work is to aid the civil police. But in J&K, it is the bullets that work first. It is not always an operation that leads to a surrender in J&K, whereas in LWE areas, people come to surrender even when a security operation is not going on.”
Mr. Singh said that the force was exploring systems that could detect weapons in cars and trucks. “A few years ago, there was an incident in Jammu when terrorists fired from a moving truck while it was passing through a toll bridge. We want to bring in a system where the weapons could be detected if they pass through a corridor. A team was supposed to go to the U.S. for trial runs but due to pandemic, it was delayed,” he said.
As many as 10 CRPF personnel committed suicide this year and the officer said that regular counselling was being carried out for the jawans. “There are several reasons for personnel taking the extreme step — globalisation, work schedule and digital access, instant information through mobiles phone — is also contributing to the mental stress,” he added.
Those who require assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts may contact Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health suicide prevention helpline 011-40769002 (10 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., Monday-Saturday).