For the first time since abrogating Article 370, the Home Ministry has decided to withdraw 10,000 Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel who were flown to Kashmir ahead of August 5, 2019. But the move has not pleased the local political parties who termed the troop withdrawal ‘cosmetic measure’.
The withdrawal of 10,000 CAPF personnel comes days after the J&K administration, under Supreme Court directions, restored 4G mobile internet services in two districts on trial basis.
“It won’t change anything in Kashmir. When a state has been scrapped, its political rights snatched and it is reduced to the level of Panchayat and municipality, such measures hardly mean anything,” says former minister and senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar. He adds, “When the state is free to use all that is provided by the book including AFSPA, NIA, CBI, PSA, and what is not even provided in the book like thousands of illegal detentions and unacknowledged detentions, this cosmetic withdrawal would not impress anyone.”
Tanvir Sadiq, National Conference leader and political advisor to former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, said the withdrawal order is not an indication of the sign of improvement in Jammu and Kashmir. “We see this as a normal movement of troops rather than a sign of an improved security environment. It’s a smokescreen. 4G continues to remain banned and leaders, political activists continue to remain detained. Media is being controlled and even restricted. Every walk of life is disturbed -- there is no normalcy when it comes to people. If someone is trying to give a perception that by this movement things are normalising, then I’m sorry it’s just a guilt-induced hogwash,” he said.
Even the BJP in Kashmir termed the withdrawal of the forces and a continuous process. The BJP spokesperson Arun Gupta said the withdrawal happened earlier also -- in May and December. “It is par the need, wherever they are needed, in the country, they are deployed there,” he said. “Kashmir is extremely peaceful and people are slowly getting into a routine. Nothing will be done unless it is required to be done,” he said.
According to the government, nearly 400 additional companies of security forces were deployed across J&K ahead of the revocation of Article 370 and Article 35A on August 5. However, the human rights groups say the number of troops and security forces deployed was far higher than the government claims.
Of 100 companies moving out, 40 companies are of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 20 each from Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
The MHA in its order sent to advisor to the administration of J&K, commissioner secretary, administration J&K and director-general of Police J&K Dilbagh Singh, stated that it is to intimate that the deployed of Central Armed Forces in J&K has been further reviewed by the ministry. “It has been decided to withdraw 100 Companies of CAPFs with immediate effect from J&K and revert them back to their respective locations,” reads the MHA order.