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Extra 20K forces deployed for Yatra to stay for Panchayat polls

New Delhi, Aug 28: Over 20,000 personnel of central paramilitary forces such as CRPF and BSF will be deployed in Kashmir for “pre-election duties” ahead of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Tuesday.

A total of 202 companies that were given the task of conducting the recently-concluded Amarnath pilgrimage in the state will now be deployed in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara, Bandipora, Shopian and Awantipora for pre-election duties, the officials said.

The about-two-month-long pilgrimage concluded on Sunday.

A single company of these forces has about 100 personnel.

According to an order issued by the state police, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will contribute the largest number of companies at 132, followed by Border Security Force (BSF) at 32, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at 25 and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at 13.

“A total of 203 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) deployed for the Amarnath Yatra have been diverted and ordered to be deployed for pre-poll duties in view of the panchayat polls in the state, dates for which are yet to be announced,” a senior official said.

He added a number of other reserve units of these forces and the state police will also be deployed once the poll dates are announced.

Local body elections are likely to be held in the last week of September.