BSF Replacing CRPF To Fight Militancy

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Srinagar: In a major offensive against militancy, the Union Home Ministry is contemplating to replace paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with the Border Security Force (BSF) in some areas of restive Kashmir, which witnessed “active revival” of the armed insurgency.

Highly placed sources told Kashmir Observer that in the wake of spurt in militant strikes, particularly the recent attack on CRPF bus in Pampore, which left eight security personnel dead and another 21 injured, the central government is planning to change counter-insurgency strategy, wherein giving more teeth to the BSF is into “active consideration.”

Sources said that feelers of this plan were given at a meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday during his Kashmir visit at the commencement of the annual Amanrnath pilgrimage.

Sources said eyebrows are being raised over the operations of the CRPF in tackling militancy even as the paramilitary force is being accused of “security lapse” in the Pampore highway incident when two Lashkar Fidayeen attacked the bus.

As already reported by Kashmir Observer, the government had inputs about the possible militant attack on the south Kashmir highway while a CRPF Road Opening Party (ROP), bound to provide security cover the convoys was on active patrol in the area. “Even though CRPF was on vigil in the area, the militants managed to execute their deadly plans. This hints at nothing but lapse,” said a source.

He said the central government was actively looking at the options of giving more power to the BSF than CRPF, to begin with in some areas of Kashmir, where militant grids are active in the north and south.

Security analysts believe that given the previous role of BSF in combating militancy in 1990s, the government was seriously looking into the option, once again. “See BSF is a more lethal force specialised in counter insurgency than CRPF, which is mainly trained for mob control operations,” the sources said adding the BSF is also better equipped in terms of weapons.

Sources said the J&K government has already got “feelers about the prospective developments.”  “See the idea to replace CRPF with BSF is in active consideration, but nothing has been decided as yet, once a formal decision is taken, things will be accordingly conveyed,” the sources said.

In 2005, after fighting militants for 14 years, the BSF was replaced by the CRPF in Kashmir. The decision to relieve BSF from counter-insurgency duties was taken by the then BJP led NDA government after a group of ministers had recommended separate duties for various paramilitary forces.

The BSF had killed 2,800 militants during its 14 years of engagement in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir. That comprised 100 top commanders, including the prized scalp of Gazi Baba, who was India’s most-wanted militant following the December 13, 2001, attack on the Parliament. The force had arrested 9,400 militants and 10,600 weapons were seized since ‘90s.

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