Srinagar: After eleven years, the Border Security Force (BSF) is back in Srinagar. Additional companies of CRPF brought to the Valley not having proved enough, troops of Border Security Force have now been deployed in Srinagar city to control the uprising that defied all the government’s controlling so far.
Several BSF troopers were seen guarding Regal Lane in city centre Lal Chowk on Monday, a day after teenager Irfan Farooq Wani, resident of Fateh Kadal in downtown Srinagar, was killed by a teargas shell fired by government forces in Nowhatta area.
Known for their fierce anti-insurgency operations, the BSF personnel are re-entering Srinagar city after almost 11 years. In 2005, the BSF was replaced by troops of CRPF in Srinagar and other towns of Kashmir.
Reportedly, a week before Hizb commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter in Kokernag, the Government of India was mulling over a plan to replace CRPF with BSF in some areas of the Valley. This change was being considered necessary following an attack on a CRPF bus in Pampore that left eight troopers dead and more than 20 injured.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Syed Mujtaba Gilani said that the administration had made a requisition of additional forces, following which some BSF personnel were sent to Srinagar.
“The BSF and CRPF both are paramilitary forces and there is no difference between them. We had a requirement of additional forces and from whatever was available, we made deployment accordingly,” he said.
He refused to comment when asked where and how many BSF troopers had been deployed.
The decision to relieve BSF from counter-insurgency duties was taken by the then BJP-led NDA government after a group of ministers recommended separate duties for different paramilitary forces.
As per newspaper reports, the BSF killed 2,800 militants during its 14 years of engagement in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir. These killings included those of 100 top militant commanders, among them Gazi Baba, who was India’s most-wanted militant after the December 13, 2001, attack on the Indian Parliament. The BSF arrested 9,400 militants and seized 10,600 weapons in the fourteen years of its deployment in Kashmir.
The BSF is considered a more deadly force than the CRPF. It specialises in anti-insurgency operations and is equipped with better weapons than the CRPF, which is trained mainly in mob control.