Force Magazine

 Caught Between Orders
 Its governments own policies which have put the CRPF in a precarious situation

The Bemina operation continued through the dayBy sheer coincidence, FORCE team from Delhi was in Srinagar on March 13, the day terrorists struck the CRPF camp in the heart of the city after a gap of three years, claiming lives of five unarmed CRPF men. While representing the Central government authority, the men were doomed to die as they were under orders to not carry personal weapons.

The CRPF top brass, sitting in Delhi, did a review of the situation which brought avoidable deaths on the men. Ironically, the wise people concluded that the killings did not warrant arming CRPF men serving in the Valley. It would be a status quo as far as the CRPF was concerned. What does this mean for the security situation in the state?

After the hanging of Afzal Guru in Delhi’s Tihar jail on February 9, the Valley was caught most days between curfew imposed by the state government apprehending trouble, and strike calls given by the now-united-now-divided Separatists under a new organisation called Muttahida Majlis Mushawarat avatar.

In such a situation, the first Unified Headquarters meeting of 2013 attended by the entire army senior brass (GOC, 15 corps, his two divisional and two force headquarters commanders), top police and CRPF commanders, the divisional commissioner Kashmir, and representatives from various intelligence agencies amongst others was held in Srinagar on March 11. A senior army officer told FORCE that “the United Headquarters is perfect, with complete synergy between all forces.” He added that “even as there is little recruitment (by terrorists) within the Valley, we should not dilute the force (army),” a clear reference to the state government’s tireless campaign to progressively remove the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the Valley, something that the Army Headquarters is opposed to tooth and nail. The army assessment in Srinagar is that Pakistan’s ISI will take advantage of the post-Afzal phase.

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