Srinagar: After hectic deliberations post deadly suicide attack on the CRPF convoy at Lethpora in Pulwama on February 14, the top brass of the Central force has decided to procure mine protected vehicles (MPVs) and small buses to ferry less number of forces to counter threats of attacks during its convoy movement.
The move comes despite the fact that 50 per cent of CRPF convoy travels by air from New Delhi to Srinagar and back, the move that has reduced the road travel frequency of its convoys.
“We are enhancing our counter-IED capabilities in Kashmir. We are procuring and sending more MPVs and are bullet-proofing force buses. As it is difficult to protect big buses, we are looking at procuring small 30 and 20-seater buses that can be better armour protected,” a top CRPF officer told KNO.
The force uses MPVs for limited troop movements in the anti-Naxal operations theatre and some of them are being used in Jammu and Kashmir too. About six personnel can travel in these four-wheeled vehicles.
The officer said that small buses can be better fabricated and provided bullet-resistant armour as compared to the standard large buses that seat 54-57 people.
The CRPF chief said it has been decided 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 personnel and equipment to detect and counter explosives and IEDs.
Seats have been increased in the Pune-based IED education school of the force so that more personnel are trained in the trade of detection and disarming such bombs in Kashmir, another officer said.
The bullet-proof armour to the buses will only save force personnel from firing attacks by terrorists and will not provide fool-proof protection from explosions like the one that was carried out in Pulwama, a the officer said, more measures will be taken in the coming months. To counter Pulwama-like attacks, new procedures for convoy movement and protection have been notified, he added.
The new convoy movement procedure involves restricting the movement of civilian vehicles, regularly changing halting points and dynamic movement of convoys to and from the Kashmir.