The Centre has ordered "immediate" withdrawal of about 10,000 paramilitary forces personnel (or 100 companies) from the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Wednesday.
This is the biggest de-induction of these forces after additional troops were rushed to the Union Territory post the abrogation of the Article 370 of the Constitution last August that gave the erstwhile state a unique status.
Officials said the decision was taken after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reviewed the deployment of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in the union territory. The MHA had last withdrawn 10 CAPF companies from the UT in May, while 72 such units were taken out last December.
A senior official said a total of 100 CAPF companies have been ordered to be withdrawn "immediately" on Wednesday and asked to revert to their base locations in the country.
As per the directions, a total of 40 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 20 each of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), will be taken out from Jammu and Kashmir by this week.
The CRPF has been asked to make arrangements for air lifting of these units to Delhi and other locations, they said.
A CAPF company has an operational strength of about 100 personnel.
"The units that are being withdrawn are deployed both in Jammu and Srinagar.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," a senior CAPF officer said.
He said with the winters soon setting in, it would have been an onerous task to keep these units in make-shift and temporary dwelling units, especially in the Kashmir valley region.
With the latest de-induction, the lead counter-terrorist force CRPF will have a strength of about 60 battalions (about 1,000 personnel in each battalion) in the Kashmir valley apart from very few units of the other CAPFs.
(With inputs from PTI)