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Stationing of jawans in marriage halls has Mayor, locals up in arms

CRPF personnel in Srinagar. File

CRPF personnel in Srinagar. File

Stationing of additional CRPF companies in community marriage halls in Srinagar in the wake of growing militant attacks has locals and Mayor up in arms.

There is growing concern among the locals after the marriage halls and government accommodations were taken over by the security personnel in congested localities such as Suthra Shahi and Illahi Bagh, where such facilities are also used by children as recreation centres.

“The SMC [Srinagar Municipal Corporation] wasn’t consulted on this decision. These community halls are integral to social and community functions and are constructed in areas where people don’t have huge houses and lawns. They, hence, are a community necessity,” SMC Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu said.

The Srinagar municipality has raised the issue with the Divisional Commissioner. “The Divisional Commissioner has assured me that alternative options will be explored. I have strongly urged for this. It is very important that community facilitation services are not hampered. It would be a huge inconvenience to people and also stigmatise law and order measures,” Mr. Mattu said.

Security review by Shah

Officials said hundreds of CRPF personnel were being shifted from north and south Kashmir to Srinagar. The augmentation came days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah presided over security review meetings during his three-day tour of the Union Territory last month. Multiple targeted attacks by militants left seven civilians, including minorities, dead in the city in October.

Sources said there were growing footprints of militants in Srinagar. This comes around one year after it was declared a militancy free zone with the killing of 20 militants by October 2020.

In the face of growing militant activity and attacks, additional checkpoints and fresh concrete bunkers have been erected across the city as part of the “area domination” exercise and “to curb the movement of militants’, officials said.

It’s the first time since 2016 that hundreds of CRPF personnel will man the streets and congested localities in the city. During Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and Omar Abdullah’s Governments, around 84 structures, including 69 camps and 14 bunkers, were removed across the Valley by 2009.

Of the 117 camps and 11 bunkers in Srinagar, official figures suggested that additional 15 bunkers and camps were removed in 2012, 11 in 2009, eight in 2013, five in 2015, three in 2014 and one in 2016, in a bid to reduce footprints of security personnel in the Kashmir Valley.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 4:08:08 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/stationing-of-jawans-in-marriage-halls-has-mayor-locals-up-in-arms/article37347641.ece