On Wednesday, 19 August, the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the ‘immediate’ withdrawal of 10,000 troops of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) from the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, according to a report by PTI.
A total of 100 CAPF paramilitary companies will be withdrawn under this move, including 40 from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 20 each from the Central Industrial Security Force, Border Security Force and Sashastra Seema Bal, officials told PTI. The companies will return to their base locations elsewhere in India.
“The units that are being withdrawn are deployed both in Jammu and Srinagar. It was felt that the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist grid is intact in the UT and these additional units that were sent in last year can be de-inducted giving them the much required rest, recuperation and training,” PTI quoted a senior official as saying.
Many of these units had been moved into the region in connection with the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August 2019 which removed the special status of J&K and was followed by its reorganisation into two Union Territories. It is the third and largest withdrawal of CAPF companies, after 72 in December 2019, and 10 in May this year.
The winter conditions in the Kashmir Valley were also reportedly considerations behind the removal of the troops. According to PTI, after this de-induction, the CRPF will be left with a strength of 60 battalions (around 60,000 personnel) in the Kashmir Valley, in addition to some small numbers of other CAPFs.
In addition to the withdrawal of these troops, other de-escalation measures in J&K in the last few days include the restoration of 4G mobile data services for postpaid mobiles on 16 August.
This follows a decision of the Special Committee on this issue to start restoring high-speed mobile internet, relied on by many in J&K, on a trial basis in a few areas at a time.