BSF To Remain In J&K Internal Security Till Dec
20 May 2003
The Times of India
New Delhi: The Border Security Force (BSF) will hand over the entire internal security responsibility in Jammu and Kashmir to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and to other central para military forces (CPMFs) by December and not May-June as had been decided earlier. 'It is going to take some more time because it is felt that BSF is well versed with the place its topography and has developed its intelligence network. Any other force that replaces it will take time to get used to the place,' the BSF director general Ajai Raj Sharma said here on Tuesday. He said that since summer had set in and with the melting of the snow there was greater apprehension of militants crossing over into this side from the other side. Hence it is also likely that the BSF may stay on for even longer on the J&K internal security duty. In fact Sharma has suggested to the government that instead of withdrawing BSF from this duty in J&K, additional force should be created for the required need. The BSF chief said that chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's 'healing touch policy' has had a salutary impact in J&K. Even prime minister Vajpayee's overture of friendship towards Pakistan is appreciated in the valley, in as much as it has brought down the level of internal discontent and protest. He even ventured to say that 'the word insurgency should not be used in the context of J&K because there is hardly any internal popular movement there.' He said that the foreign militants who constitute more than 70 per cent in the valley are mainly responsible for carrying on the terrorist violence in the valley. Asked what would be impact of the ban imposed by Pakistan on Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, Sharma said, 'it will lead to expansion of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group which is mainly dominated by foreign nationals.' He said that the HM which is a Kashmir based outfit, had already become ineffective because of the infighting and that is why Pakistan has ventured to ban it and it has not banned LeT which comprises foreign mercenaries. The BSF chief said that fidayeen attacks had increased in the valley and this was a major challenge which the force is getting ready to battle with. For this he said that a special training is being imparted in the BSF and already it has helped the force, successfully defeat fidayeen attacks.