Following the attack on CRPF convoy that claimed the life of 49 paramilitary-men in south Kashmir, the CRPF, Army and BSF have decided to move their convoys in the Valley in a common “window of time”, during which civilian traffic will remain suspended, media reports said on Thursday.
Also, the Jammu-Srinagar convoy movement will be spread over two days, with more stops in between, instead of the current one-day trip. The capacity of transit camps which fall on the route, like Qazigund, is likely to be increased. The timing of convoy movement is also being changed, as convoys are usually targeted in the sensitive areas of Pulwama and Pampore during the afternoon, Indian Express reported.
Since the attack last week, the CRPF has held a series of meetings with the Army, BSF and Jammu and Kashmir Police to work out a solution that minimises the threat of vehicle-borne IEDs, while causing minimum disruption to normal traffic, the report mentioned.
“Because there are three different forces with a massive presence in the Valley, there is movement almost every day, through the day. Stopping traffic for such disparate movements can bring the whole Valley to a halt and also make us vulnerable. So we have decided that the three forces will move together in a single window of time. This will reduce both vulnerability and traffic disruption,” a senior officer told Indian Express who attended these meetings.
He said that even if the security forces are unable to move together for various reasons, the attempt would be to move the convoys one after another, within short intervals of times. “In those intervals, civilian traffic can be allowed,” he said.
“The real trouble starts after Qazigund and Banihal. There are stretches which are vulnerable to attacks on convoys. We have seen that most of these attacks take place in the afternoon. So we have decided to cross these stretches in the mornings. Ideally, we should reach Srinagar from Qazigund in two-and-a-half hours,” another officer told The Indian Express.
According to sources, this means that the convoys would have to make a night halt. “We have decided that our convoys will halt at Qazigund at night, and then leave for Srinagar early morning the next day. For this, we are increasing the holding capacity of our Qazigund camp which currently stands at 1,000 men,” said a senior CRPF officer.
The CRPF convoy that came under attack last week had left Jammu at 3.30 am and was attacked in Pulwama at around 3 pm. It made a halt at Qazigund, where half the personnel in the 78-vehicle convoy shifted to bulletproof vehicles. Probe finds car bumper, remains of the can in which explosives were packed, The Indian Express reported.
Now, schedules are being worked out in such a way that the convoys are smaller, and more men can get bulletproof vehicles. “We need to increase the capacity at transit camps so that we can hold more personnel, for two-three days if required, and are not forced to send them because of increasing numbers,” an officer told The Indian Express.