“The Ministry of Home Affairs is contemplating replacing paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with the Border Security Force (BSF) in some areas of restive Kashmir, which witnessed revival of armed insurgency in recent months,”.
They said after the recent attack on a CRPF bus in Pampore, which left eight paramilitary personnel dead and another 21 injured, the central government is planning to assign the BSF a more active role as in the 1990s.
“Eyebrows are being raised about the CRPF’s operations in tackling militancy even as the paramilitary force is being accused of security lapse in the Pampore highway incident when two Lashker-e-Toiba fidayeen attacked the bus,” sources said. To begin with, they said, the BSF would be given a role in areas where militant grids are active in north and south Kashmir.
Security analysts believe that given the previous role of BSF in combating militancy in 1990s, the government was seriously looking at the option, once again. “The BSF is a more lethal force specialised in counter insurgency than the CRPF, which is mainly trained for mob control operations,” the sources said, adding the BSF is also better equipped in terms of weapons. They said the J&K government was in the know of the developments and would soon be formally informed about the strategy. “The idea to replace the CRPF with BSF is in active consideration,” the sources said.
In 2005, after fighting militants for 14 years, the BSF was replaced by the CRPF in Kashmir. In the first phase of the de-induction, the CRPF took over Srinagar city and Anantnag town from the BSF. The decision to relieve BSF from counter-insurgency duties was taken by the then Congress-led UPA government after a group of ministers had recommended separate duties for various paramilitary forces.
The BSF had killed 2,800 militants during its 14 years of engagement in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir. That comprised 100 top commanders, including the prized scalp of Gazi Baba.