With curfew lifted from all but two police station areas of Kashmir, BSF troops deployed to quell street protests were on Tuesday withdrawn suddenly and replaced by the CRPF, barely a week after deployment, apparently following demands by the political parties and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The border guarding force was deployed in the restive Valley after a gap of 12 years. As a fallout of the decision, four companies of CRPF, which were deployed for route sanitisation exercise for Prime Minister and other SPG protectees in Delhi, have been withdrawn.
The task will now be undertaken by the BSF, which is mandated for guarding Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders. A total of 25 fresh companies of CRPF is now being sent to the Valley for replacing the BSF.
So far, 18 companies (around 1,800 personnel) of CRPF have reached the Valley out of which eight have been sent to north Kashmir. One company, which was on static duty at the state secretariat, has been replaced by ITBP.
The sources said several political parties had demanded the withdrawal of the BSF from the Valley during their talks with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently. It is understood that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had also sought its withdrawal during her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The BSF, which was taken off counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir in 2004, was deployed in the Valley last week after a gap of 12 years. BSF personals were deployed in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk in the city and adjoining areas for law and order duties.
This was for the first time since 2004 that BSF was called for active duties in the city. The force, which conducted anti-militancy operations in Kashmir for nearly 13 years from 1991, was replaced in the city by the Central Reserve Police Force in 2004.