New Delhi: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is investigating a viral video that purports to show personnel of the force travelling in Kashmir in a truck that is not bulletproof.
The video was first tweeted Friday by a handle called “Kashmir Intel”, which claimed it was sourced from a “pro-Indian Army account on YouTube”, where it was posted “on 8 October”. This account, however, added that the video, which seeks to show personnel discussing the government’s alleged apathy to their safety, is “unverified”. It was also shared by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Saturday with a rebuke to the Modi government.
#Kashmir: (unverified) Indian paramilitaries (CRPF) are not happy that their officer goes to duty in armoured vehicle, but sends them to duty in “garbage truck”. A trooper says even armoured vehicles are not safe here, yet they’re given tin vehicles. Sad!pic.twitter.com/q9XXswFUfJ
— Kashmir Intel (@kashmirosint) October 9, 2020
हमारे जवानों को नॉन-बुलेट प्रूफ़ ट्रकों में शहीद होने भेजा जा रहा है और PM के लिए 8400 करोड़ के हवाई जहाज़!
क्या यह न्याय है? pic.twitter.com/iu5iYWVBfE
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 10, 2020
Together, the two tweets have been retweeted and liked thousands of time — as of Saturday night, it had over 32,000 retweets and nearly 88,000 likes on Rahul Gandhi’s account, and 136 retweets and 273 likes on “Kashmir Intel”.
Reached for comment, the CRPF told ThePrint that it has initiated an inquiry into the veracity of the video. “The authenticity of the video is being probed into by CRPF,” Moses Dhinakaran, the CRPF spokesperson, said.
Dhinakaran added that the CRPF is well-equipped and has sufficient bulletproof vehicles for their personnel. “CRPF has adequate protective vehicles to meet varied operational requirements,” he said.
A source in the CRPF said that, soon after the video was posted online, commanders across units were asked to identify the personnel. No one, however, has come forward till now, the source added.
“We have not been able to identify who these personnel are and from which unit. We also do not know where they are posted. The information has been circulated across units and we are looking into the matter,” the source said.
‘Government is playing with our lives’
The video purports to show security in full gear talking about the “insensitivity of the government”.
One of the purported troopers is heard saying, “They are taking us in a non-bulletproof vehicle. Here, people are not even secure in a bulletproof vehicle and we are being stuffed in a non-bulletproof unsafe vehicle.”
He then goes on to say that their life is being put at risk.
“They are playing with our lives,” he says. Another of the personnel then responds, “We have to take this up with the commander.”
“The commander will not take a stand,” says the first one. “He himself travels in a bulletproof vehicle but cannot arrange one for his team, section. He has left us here to die.”
In a reference to the poor frame of the vehicle, another trooper says, “If someone throws a stone at this (vehicle), there will be a scar.”
Yet another person then talks into the cameras and says, “The arrangements made for us are very poor. The company and teams are made to travel in a non-bulletproof vehicle”
“It is the government’s responsibility to make these arrangements for us. If the government is making us work, then they should at least provide this much. By not even doing this much, they are playing with our lives,” he adds.
The unverified video has triggered concerns because security personnel in Kashmir routinely come under attack from terrorists. Last year, in one of the worst terror attacks on Indian soil, 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a local Jaish-e-Mohammed operative rammed a vehicle full of explosives into a convoy in Pulwama.
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