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Higher casualties of forces personnel so far this year


Srinagar, Mar 10: The casualty figure of government forces in Kashmir exceeds those of militants so far this year.
Data shows that in, at least, 104 people killed until March 1, 60 were the forces personnel of CRPF, Police and Army. The rest included 37 militants and five civilians.
Even though the February 14 bombing in Lethpora forms the major chunk of these casualties, the armed forces have still been at the receiving end in at least two gunfights that occurred after the highway attack.
On February 18, a major rank official including four troopers were killed in an encounter in Pinglan village of Pulwama. A civilian was also killed in the gun-battle.
This was followed by the longest gun-fight in the last decade that ensued in Handwara area in north Kashmir on March 3.
Five government personnel including three troopers, two policemen and a civilian were killed in a 60-hour-long battle.
The Handwara attack propelled the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to “revise” its combat strategy to “wait, watch and take time” and issued new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
Over 55,000 CRPF personnel deployed in J&K have been advised “not to show hurry” during operations in residential area.
After the Pulwama attack, CRPF Director General R.R. Bhatnagar had in a media briefing last month, stated the CRPF was formulating some strategies but refused to divulge specifics.
The CRPF has already tweaked things like “traffic control” and “convoy movement timings” to enhance security for its 3.5-lakh strong force.
It has also revised the strategy to deal with explosive attacks, said another official privy to the developments.
While commenting on losses of forces in gunfights, a senior police official of the rank of SP said, “The bullet can hit anyone. Sometimes, we are lucky enough to escape it and at times not. Moreover, there is pressure from the stone-pelters to conclude the operations at the earliest.”