10,000 troops to be immediately withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir
More than a year after the abrogation of Article 370, the Centre decided to withdraw 10,000 troops from the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, an order released on Wednesday evening said. Nearly 80,000 paramilitary personnel were deployed in the region, as a violent fallout of the historic move was expected. The Ministry of Home Affairs took the decision after reviewing the on-ground situation.
On August 5, before the special status was revoked from the erstwhile state, Centre had mobilized thousands of personnel. Lieutenant-General KJS Dhillon had announced to media that Pakistan-sponsored terrorists would plan an attack on Amarnath Yatra. The yatra was canceled, troops sent to the Valley due to "threat," and merely days later Home Minister Amit Shah announced the bifurcation of J&K.
The presence of armed personnel helped the BJP-led Centre curtail violent episodes but also earned it criticism from opposition parties, which asked why were troops stationed if the volatile Valley was "relatively calm." Last evening, in a surprise statement, MHA said, "It has been decided to withdraw 100 cos of CAPF with immediate effect from J&K and revert back to their respective locations."
Of the 100 companies, 40 belong to CRPF, and 20 are from SSB, BSF, and CISF each. According to News 18, SSB, CISF, and BSF companies were deployed in both Jammu and Kashmir regions. A senior CAPF official told that counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist grid was working well in J&K, hence, it was decided to withdraw the troops, and give them "rest, recuperation and training."
People privy to the development told the daily that although the final decision rested with MHA, inputs from local authorities were also considered. On the eve of the anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, MHA prepared a report to judge the security in J&K. It was concluded that security has improved and that 150 terrorists, including the dreaded Riyaz Naikoo, were gunned down.
Moreover, the report also claimed the number of youth joining militancy has dropped by 40%. Between January 1 and July 15, 2019, 188 terror-related incidents were reported in the Valley. It came down to 120 for the same time period this year. Last year, 51 grenade attacks happened in Kashmir during the aforementioned time period and this year merely 21 attacks took place.
In December, 82 companies were asked to return, and with the latest order, 182 companies now stand withdrawn from the UT. Now, CRPF will have 60 battalions, having 1,000 personnel each, in the Valley, along with other units. "Compared to the kind of mobilization that was done in July-August 2019, only 10% of troops will now remain in the Valley," a CRPF official said.
Notably, the youngest UT of India witnessed some changes in recent weeks. L-G GC Murmu, who took the oath in October, was replaced by BJP's Manoj Sinha earlier this month, indicating that suspended political action might pick up the pace soon. Moreover, 4G internet was reinstated in two districts, one each from Jammu and Kashmir, on a trial basis after over a year.