Paramilitary Forces Vacate Camp in Kashmir

Srinagar, Nov 30: The paramilitary CRPF men have vacated one of its camp in Firdous cinema in Hawal chowk in old city, much to the relief of the local population.

The Firdous cinema, one of the popular movie halls in the old city, was occupied by paramilitary CRPF soldiers in the early 1990s after eruption of militancy in the region.

Locals said few days back the paramilitary soldiers left the place and vacated the camp. “They have taken their belongings. However, they have not dismantled the bunkers yet,” they said.

People of the area have heaved a sigh of relief over removal of the camp from the area. “The camp was main target of militants. The militants targeted the camp repeatedly during past 20 years of armed conflict. The presence of paramilitary personnel camp in the area was major cause of stone pelting incidents in the area during unrest last year,” they said.

The locals said removal of the camp from the area will ensure peaceful environment in Hawal and adjoining areas. “All the bunkers located in congested residential area in Srinagar and other places of Kashmir should be removed,” they said.

“When there will be no bunkers, there won’t be any stone pelting incidents. The presence of bunkers prompted youth to hurl stones on the force personnel during protest demonstrations,” he said.

CRPF spokesman Mohsin Shaheedi confirmed thatthe paramilitary forces have vacated the camp. “We have handed over possession of the camp to police. The paramilitary soldiers deployed in the camp have now been shifted to North Kashmir,” he said.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.