New Delhi: New fleet of mine-protected vehicles (MPVs) and small 30 seater busses will be obtained by the CRPF to ensure the safety of its troop convoys in the Kashmir Valley, said the CRPF Chief. A decision has also been taken to intensify the number of the bomb detection and disposal squads (BDDS) and there is presently about 65 battalions based in the Kashmir valley for anti-terror and law and order duties.
After the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which a bus carrying 44 personnel which was part of a convoy from Jammu to Srinagar was exploded by a suicide bomber using a vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The CRPF Director General (DG) Mr, R. R. Bhatnagar said that the force has formulated new measures.
The CRPF Director General (DG) Mr, R. R. Bhatnagar said, our counter-IED capabilities are being intensified in Kashmir. More number of MPVs and bulletproofing force buses are being procured and sent to the force. Since large busses are difficult to armour we are in the look out of procuring small 30-seater buses that can be better armour plated. The MPVs are used for limited troop movements in the anti-Naxal operations and some of them are being used in Jammu and Kashmir too. Each MPV can accommodate about six personnel.
Mr Bhatnagar said better fabrication could be done on small busses and can be provided with bullet-resistant armour in comparison to the standard large buses that seat 54-57 people. Mr. Bhatnagar said that a decision has been taken to provide bomb detection and disposal squads to each battalion of the force deployed in the Kashmir valley and those units, which had them, will see an increase in the number of personal and equipment to detect and counter explosives and IEDs. In the Pune-based IED education school, the number of seats for students have been increased so that more personnel will be trained in the trade of detection and disarming such bombs in Kashmir.
A senior officer said, the busses that will be provided with the bulletproof armour would provide protection to the force personal from firing attacks by terrorists. New procedures for convoy movement and protection have been notified, to counter Pulwama-like attacks. The new convoy movement procedure restricts the movement of civilian vehicles regularly, changing halting points and dynamic movement of convoys to and from Kashmir.
The Home Ministry had announced in February that all jawans and officers of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) deployed in the Kashmir valley is allowed to take a commercial flight while going in to join duty or for tour and while proceeding on leave.