Burhan Wani's death and a year of living dangerously

Stone-throwing in Kashmir on the wane: CRPF

Director-General says the number of incidents has almost halved in the first six months of 2017

There has been a sharp drop in the number of stone-throwing incidents in the Kashmir Valley this year, Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar, Director-General, Central Reserve Police Force, told The Hindu.

Attacks on security forces by stone-throwing youth escalated in the Valley after July 8, 2016 when Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) “commander” Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter.

“Last year, around 1,600 incidents were reported when CRPF personnel were attacked with stones. This year, the number has fallen to fewer than half, around 700 incidents maybe. There are days when there is no such incident,” Mr. Bhatnagar told The Hindu.

The 1,600 incidents were reported in five months after Wani’s killing, while the 700 incidents were recorded from January to June in 2017.

Around 30,000 personnel of the CRPF are deployed in the Valley to assist the local police in maintaining law and order and conducting anti-militancy operations.

The government faced severe criticism over the CRPF’s use of pellet guns to disperse crowds and protesters.

 

Several political parties have asked for the complete withdrawal of pellet guns for crowd control. Thirteen people were killed last year and more than 250 were injured after being hit by the pellets, with a some losing their vision.

Mr. Bhatnagar said though there was resistance from people during anti-militancy operations in the form of heavy stone-throwing at security forces, this had not disrupted any operation.

Non-lethal options

“No anti-militancy operation was aborted due to stone pelting. While we have showed lot of restraint, we did not let them run riot. We have revised our standard operating procedures and are increasingly using non-lethal options like tear gas shells and plastic bullets,” he said.

 

The DG said around 300 vehicles, including buses and vans were being made bullet-proof.

Bullet-proof vehicles

“The number of militants being killed has gone up sharply and this has led to desperate attacks on security forces. We would bullet-proof all the vehicles that are used for patrolling duties,” he said.

“Recently, six of our jawans were saved as their armoured vehicle protected them when they came under heavy fire from terrorists. A sub-inspector sitting at the front was killed; we are getting the vehicles 100% bullet-proofed now,” the DG said.

The CRPF is also providing pre-induction training to jawans at their training centre in Lethpura in Pulwama on how to handle the crowd through non-lethal means, Mr. Bhatnagar said.

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Printable version | May 23, 2020 1:20:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/stone-throwing-in-kashmir-on-the-wane-says-crpf-chief/article19195205.ece

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