New Delhi: Fifteen years after the Border Security Force (BSF) was asked to move out from active duty in Jammu and Kashmir, the force has been brought back as the Centre moved 100 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAFP) to the state.
The decision was taken in the wake of an “extraordinary situation” that has developed in the Valley after the 14 February Pulwama attack that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, a home ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
The BSF has been deployed in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk area, said the official.
In an order dated 22 February, the Jammu and Kashmir Police headquarters said 15 “static guard” duties of CRPF companies deployed in Srinagar have been handed over to the BSF and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The fresh infusion of the forces comes as the administration has cracked down on separatists and hardliners in the Valley. Several leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, including its chief, have been taken into preventive detention.
Security sources also attributed the deployment to preparations for elections and maintenance of law and order in wake of the crackdown.
Apart from 35 companies of the BSF, 45 companies of the CRPF, and 10 companies of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) each have also been moved to J&K with immediate effect, the home ministry official said.
One company has about 120 personnel.
According to the official, the decision was taken Thursday at a meeting held with senior government officials and director generals of the forces.
“It is a precautionary deployment,” said the official. “The step by the security apparatus has been taken keeping in mind the extraordinary situation that has arisen in the Valley.”
All the hospitals in the state have also been put on high alert.
The BSF had been moved out of the Valley in 2004 following a review committee report, and was replaced by the CRPF.
“After a detailed report by the Kargil review committee which called for ‘one border one force’, the BSF was moved out and relocated and CRPF was brought in. Since then the CRPF has been the major force deployed in the Valley,” said a third home ministry official.
Even though the BSF was involved in counter-terrorism operations, it faced a lot of flak for the execution of some of them. The force also faced several charges of human rights violations.