Upcoming Polls: CRPF To Divert 30000 Men To Poll Duty 

NEW DELHI —The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Tuesday said 30,000 of its personnel deployed for the Amarnath Yatra would be diverted for the upcoming polls, according to report.

The report published in a Chennai-based newspaper also quoted CRPF Director-General R.R Bhatnagar, saying that militants active in the Kashmir Valley got most of their armaments, including the “so-called Chinese grenades”, from across the border.

The CRPF would be at the forefront of the security set-up for the panchayat polls in the State, where the security for individual candidates would also be factored in, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The State under Governor’s rule is gearing up for panchayat and urban local body polls that were previously held in 2011 and 2005, respectively, after a gap of four decades. Major political parties such as the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have decided to boycott the polls to be held in October-November. J&K has 4,378 panchayats.

A senior Home Ministry official said that panchayat polls were not “party-based” and the boycott by the political parties was unlikely to have any bearing on them.

Bhatnagar said, “Till August this year, there have been 20 grenade attacks on security pickets. In 2016, there were eight such attacks. Since our presence in crowded areas has increased, militants use the cover of the crowd — they hit and run.”

The officer said that since 2016, there had been a sharp decrease in incidents of stone throwing in the Valley.

 “Stone pelting is well under control. We are dealing with it more effectively. A lot of encounters have taken place, security forces have had huge success, and they have an upper hand now,” he said.

The DG said that stone throwing incidents involving the CRPF were down to 400 this year, compared with about 1,600 in 2016. Violent protests broke out in the Valley after July 8, 2016 — when HM commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces. Several people were blinded due to injuries inflicted by pellet guns used by the CRPF.

 “We are effectively using less lethal ammunition to be able to control the mobs, it is a challenge…we have got better protective gears now, so that fewer injuries are suffered by our personnel. We use various less lethal options like tear gas ammunition and plastic bullets…pellet guns are used as a last resort,” he said.


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