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India Pulls Back Thousands of Troops From Kashmir One Year After Change of Temporary Special Status


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New Delhi (Sputnik): India rushed over 38,000 troops to the highly militarised zone of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 to maintain law and order when the Narendra Modi government revoked the semi-autonomous status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two, separating it from the Buddhist-majority region Ladakh.

The Indian government ordered an “immediate” withdrawal of about 10,000 troops from Jammu and Kashmir on 19 August after the Ministry of Home Affairs reviewed the deployment of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

By this week, 100 battalions of troops – each comprised of 100 personnel – will be pulled out from Kashmir, senior officials in the ministry confirmed.

In May, over 1,000 Central Armed Police Forces were also pulled back from Jammu and Kashmir on the central government’s order.  

The order comes amid a rising number of terror attacks on the Indian Army and episodes of encounters between security forces and terrorists in the valley. One of the deadliest and longest encounters, continuing for two days, ended on Tuesday, killing five Indian soldiers in the Baramulla district. Three terrorists were also killed in the encounter.

Terrorists have carried out around 80 attacks in Jammu and Kashmir in 2020, killing 26 Indian security forces, 13 civilians, and injuring over 45 Indian security personnel.

The restrictions imposed in the valley after the change of temporary special status on 5 August 2019 are being eased out gradually. High-speed Internet services were allowed to be restored in one district each in Jammu and Kashmir on a trial basis on 15 August.

Ganderbal in Kashmir and Udhampur in Jammu were the first districts where the 4G connection was restored after one year of suspension.

Flashpoints for violent protests and a blanket ban on communication were imposed, with phone and Internet lines cut for months following the order on 5 August 2019. Also, hundreds of political leaders and people, advocating for a separate homeland for Kashmiris, were detained.  

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