CRPF Withdrawal From J&K Part Of MHA's Action Plan-II

2 July 2009
The Times of India


New Delhi: The withdrawal of CRPF from Baramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday might have been be triggered by local protests, but it was, in fact, the beginning of the Centre's plan of 'rationalisation of central forces' deployed in the state by July 31. The deadline for this is clearly stated in the home ministry's 'Action Plan-II' - made public on Thursday - for the period June-September. The Plan has also come out with deadlines for all the schemes which the ministry is either implementing or will be implementing across the country by September. In the chapter dedicated to J&K, the ministry has clearly stated the time lines for all its security and non-security related programmes. Besides rationalisation (withdrawal on state's request) of the central forces, it also mentioned the plan to 'relocate all central forces from public premises presently occupied by them' by July 31. Sources in the ministry said if the ministry would be able to stick to its deadline, CRPF - which currently deploys over 77,000 of its personnel in state for counter-insurgency operations - will substantially reduce its strength. The Centre would subsequently divert them to naxal-hit states which have been demanding more forces for long, they added. The overall plan of 'rationalisation' and 'relocation' was discussed in detail last month when home minister P Chidambaram visited the state. Chief minister Omar Andullah is learnt to have pitched for it and advocated the 'greater role of state police' in handling law and order situation. Asked whether the withdrawal of CRPF was part of a troop relocation move or a standalone case, Chidambaram on Wednesday had hinted at the plan, saying: 'When I visited J&K on June 11 and 12, we agreed that the lines of responsibilities will be redrawn and since then we are in touch with the state government to allow us to withdraw some CRPF companies as soon as J&K Police are ready to take over.' However, he said, it will depend on the judgement of the state government and police as to 'when and how soon they will be able to take greater responsibility'. Besides J&K, the home ministry's Action Plan-II also elaborated on its course of action in the north-east, naxal-hit states and strengthening security and intelligence infrastructure across the country. The time lines, disclosed by the ministry for each and every scheme (except for non-operational programmes), assumes significance as the move - first of this kind - will leave scope for close scrutiny of promised plan and its implementation by public. * Establishment of national intelligence grid connecting all specail branches in states (Sept 30) * Finalization of proposal to set up a National Counter Terrorism Centre (Sept 30) * Fresh operational strategy to counter Maoists and deployment of anti-naxal force CoBRA (Sept 30) * Recruitment plan for IPS officers to fill existing vacancies (July 31) * Issue of authorization for appointment of 6,666 special police oficers in naxal-hit Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh during 2009-10 (by July 15) * Immigration facilitation for Commonwealth Games-2010 (July 31) * Revamping of civil defence set-up (Sept 30) * Strengthening of fire and emergency service in the country (Sept 30) * Raising of two additional battalions (nearly 2,000 personnel) of National Disaster Response Force (Sept 30) * Modernisation of immigration check posts across the country (July 15)