Several petitions seeking repeal of both these provisions are currently pending before the Supreme Court.
Srinagar: The Union home ministry has ordered deployment of 100 additional companies, approximately 10,000 men, of the Central Armed Police Forces in Jammu and Kashmir to “strengthen the counter-insurgency grid as well as for maintaining law and order situations” in the restive state.
The reinforcements include 50 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 30 companies of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and 10 companies each of the Border Security Force (BSF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The security personnel are being air lifted and sent by trains, officials said.
The order was issued by the home ministry earlier this week when national security adviser Ajit Doval visited Srinagar to review the overall security situation in the State. He was reportedly accompanied by the heads of all intelligence agencies of the country.
Already about 400 additional companies (approximately 44,000 men) of the Central forces are deployed in J&K, mainly to provide security cover to ongoing pilgrimage to 3,888-feet-high cave-shrine of Amarnath. The 46-day long annual pilgrimage will conclude on August 15.
The requisition of more Central Armed Police Forces has fuelled rumours that the Narendra Modi government is planning some drastic steps in the state which could include scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution.
Article 370 guarantee special status to J&K in the Indian Union whereas Article 35A envisages special rights and privileges to permanent residents of the state and thereby prohibiting non-permanent residents from permanent settlement and from acquiring immovable properties, government jobs and scholarships in the state.
Article 35A also empowers the state legislature to define such “permanent residents” and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.
Several petitions seeking repeal of both these provisions are currently pending before the Supreme Court. Various political parties of state have repeatedly said that any tinkering with Article 370 or Article 35A will “clearly go against the wishes and aspirations of the people of the state and strike at the very basis of the relationship between it and the Union”. They have warned the Centre that such move would prove disastrous not only for the state, but also for the entire country.
The new strength of the troops will also help in the conduct of the Assembly polls in the state that are expected to be held in some time, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Union home minister Amit Shah extended his wishes to the CRPF on the occasion of its 81st raising day, saying the country’s largest paramilitary force’s commitment and dedication in serving different terrains is exceptional. Mr Shah also said India is extremely proud of CRPF personnel’s valour and courage. “On CRPF’s Raising Day, I extend my warm wishes to our CRPF personnel and their families. The commitment and dedication of @crpfindia while protecting our nation at different terrains is exceptional,” he said in a tweet. At an event in Delhi, minister of state for home Nityanand Rai laid wreath at the National Police Memorial at Chanakyapuri and lauded the force for rendering duties in some of the toughest operational theatres like LWE areas and the counter-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir. CRPF director general R.R. Bhatnagar informed the minister about various achievements of the force.