New Delhi: The Centre is expected to deploy about 20-22 fresh CAPF companies in the ethnic violence hit regions of Manipur after the withdrawal of these personnel deputed for the security of the Amarnath Yatra that is ending soon, official sources said on Tuesday.
These companies will be in addition to the about 125 such units of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) that are already deployed in Manipur since violence broke out in the first week of May.
It is planned that about 20-22 companies of the CAPFs– that includes the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)– will be deployed in Manipur in the first phase as part of “bolstering” the security grid in the state.
These units are being withdrawn from the Amarnath Yatra duty in Jammu and Kashmir as it has been declared closed for pilgrims now, official sources in the security establishment told PTI.
Around 10-15 more companies, deployed for the Amarnath pilgrimage protection duty, could be further moved to Manipur later, they said.
The Jammu and Kashmir adminstration had on August 20 declared that the Amarnath Yatra will remain temporarily suspended from August 23 in view of reduced pilgrim footfall and also for undertaking track restoration work of the path that leads to the cave shrine of Lord Shiva in the south Kashmir Himalayas.
However, the ‘Chari Mubarak’ (the holy mace of Lord Shiva) shall proceed via the traditional Pahalgam route marking the culmination of the yatra as scheduled on August 31, the government spokesman had said.
Over 140 CAPF companies were sent as part of fresh deployment for the Amarnath Yatra that began on July 1 on two tracks– the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag and the shorter 14-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district of J-K. CAPF and Army units already based in the Kashmir valley were also part of this security set up.
A CAPF company has an operational strength of about 70-80 personnel.
Violence in Manipur erupted in early May after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Since then, more than 160 people have died and several hundreds were injured in ethnic clashes in Manipur.
Sources said about 20 CAPF companies withdrawn from the Amarnath Yatra are also being brought to Delhi for their deployment in the security grid that is being prepared for the September 9-10 G20 Leaders’ Summit being held under India’s presidency in the national capital.
The CAPFs, according to officials, will have a tight schedule over the next few months as it is estimated that almost 300 companies will be required to be deployed for the assembly polls in five states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram to be held later this year.
However, the final number of CAPF units required for the conduct of assembly polls will be decided by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) as per the requisition made by the Election Commission of India, the sources said.