CRPF gearing up to tackle J&K situation, says IG
20 August 2006
Srinagar: Despite some reverses such as attacks by militants and unintentional killing of civilians at the hands of its personnel, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is making some innovative plans to get closer to the people and isolate militants. The CRPF took over counter-insurgency operations in Srinagar and other major cities of the Kashmir valley last year with a 'bad image' set by its men in the early 1990s while tackling the uncontrolled processions in favour of azadi. The first and foremost challenge the force was faced with was the behavioural orientation of its personnel arriving in Kashmir from the north-eastern States as they had to deal with an entirely different situation. But it managed a smooth transition inflicting heavy casualties on militants. However, the recent spurt in violence with militants targeting the police and CRPF personnel has led to a serious debate within the force. 'We are not worried about their hit-and-run policy. We are aware of this part of the challenge,' CRPF Inspector-General A.P. Maheshwari, told The Hindu. He admitted that on the behavioural front a lot needed to be done to avoid incidents such as the one last month in which a musician Inayatullah Bhat was killed. 'Behavioural orientation is our top priority,' he said. At the same time, he said that achievements by the CRPF in fighting militancy could not be ignored. 'We want to capitalise on these achievements so that peace process moves ahead without any hiccup,' said Mr. Maheshwari, who has been leading the force for about a year. 'We will not allow militants to derail the peace process,' he said. To hold open forums Mr. Maheshwari said that from next month the CRPF would organise open forums to avoid misconceptions and increase the interaction between the forces and the public. 'We recognise the need for urban policing and I am happy that we have been able to integrate with the local police and that is why we have spectacular achievements in fighting militancy,' he said, adding that technological upgradation in the force was also on the anvil. Listing the achievements, the IG said that 94 militants were killed by the CRPF in Kashmir since January 1 this year and 254 were apprehended. The killed militants included two top commanders of the al-Badr and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.