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Situation in Kashmir improved after removal of Article 370, says CRPF DG Kuldiep Singh

Singh also said the number of stone-pelting incidents have decreased, and 175 local and foreign terrorists apprehended between 2021 and March 2022.

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New Delhi: CRPF Director General (DG) Kuldiep Singh Thursday said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has “improved” following the scrapping of Article 370 in 2019. Citing CRPF data from 2021 to March 2022, he said 175 terrorists were killed during the period, as against 183 in 2020.

“Not just local insurgents but also foreign terrorists were apprehended. Numbers have decreased for stone-pelting incidents as well after Article 370 was abrogated. Situation in the Valley has improved, it is safer,” the DG said, addressing a press conference in Jammu ahead of the 83rd CRPF Raising Day Saturday.

During the same period, 7,541 caches of ammunition were recovered from Jammu and Kashmir alone, 5,760 from LWE (Left Wing Extremism) affected areas, and 2,194 in the Northeastern region, according to the CRPF data.

“We expect spurts of violence to occur periodically in the Valley but overall we have witnessed a drop in incidents. Three jawans were martyred last year in Jammu and Kashmir and we are trying our best to make the region safer,” the DG said.

On ‘The Kashmir Files’

Kuldiep Singh also spoke about the film ‘The Kashmir Files’ and said “if the movie is inspirational, we will screen it at places where it is conducive”.

“Our jawans are spread across and organising a screening together will be difficult. But we will bring this up in our discussions next. However, it is not in my purview to make a statement that the Kashmiri Pandits could or could not return, because it is the community’s decision. We will do our job and make our Valley safer for everyone,” Singh added.

‘Accountable for anything that happens to jawans’

Speaking about Assistant Commandant Bibhor Kumar Singh, who lost both his legs in a Naxal IED blast in Bihar on 25 February, the DG said, “I am the only person who is accountable for anything that happens to jawans within the CRPF. It is true that he could not be airlifted sooner, but we have to rely on pilots for technical difficulties, which, in this case, led to such a serious situation.”

Bibhor belongs to the CRPF’s CoBRA Battalion and the 49th batch of Directly Appointed Gazetted Officers of the force. His wife had accused the force of delaying medical access and said Bibhor could have been airlifted sooner. Three CRPF personnel were injured in the attack. Officials have said that it took more than two and a half hours to evacuate the injured personnel.

Kuldiep Singh also said there are frequent conversations with the Indian Air Force and the BSF about arrangements for CRPF personnel.

“We frequently have discussions with them because we have to rely on shared resources. Everyone is doing their duty here so we cannot corner anyone here and blame them. Everyone is doing their best,” he added.

‘Have always encouraged women to be CoBRA officers’

The CRPF DG also spoke about how both his force and the Ministry of Home Affairs have encouraged women to show “willingness” to be posted in conflict-prone regions.

“We need more willingness from women officers to be deployed in difficult areas and be a part of CoBRA. To build separate facilities for women officers in difficult areas is secondary,” he said.

Last year, 33 women CRPF personnel were handpicked for a 10-week training programme with assault rifles and AK-47s in Greater Noida. The women soldiers were handpicked for VVIP protection after approval from the MHA.

Also read: Video calls, camera-mounted Army dogs, locked rooms: Inside story of Hyderpora encounter


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