Civilian lives paramount: CRPF soldiers get special training to tackle stonepelting

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Nagrota, May 20: The Jammu and Kashmir Police now have a special training for the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to tackle stone pelting and manage unlawful gatherings, under which they are told lives of civilians are important and it is their duty to make sure the crowd’s safety.

A Special Pre-Induction Training is going on in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nagrota and Hiranagar to handle unlawful gatherings.

All the CRPF men who are posted in Kashmir have to go through a rigorous pre- induction training to handle different situations in the Valley.

These are regular CRPF soldiers who have served in many parts of the country but are trained specifically to handle the situations.

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The CRPF is training their men in special ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ SOPs that is to be followed when they are handling the situation of stone pelting.

There are seven SOPs they are trained for:

1. Negotiating with the crowd, talk to them and make them understand what they are doing is wrong.

2. Use of water cannon.

3. Use of ‘tear smoke’.

4. ‘Lathi’ Charge.

5. Use of Rubber Bullet. (Lower Body)

6. Use of Pump Action Gun (Lower body).

7. Use bullets on lower body parts. (Legs only)

The CRPF personnel have been strictly instructed to follow the SOPs and are in no way to deviate from them.

It is repeatedly drilled into them that the people in the crowd are individuals and in no situation should there be any fatal injury to them.

Apart from the training to handle stone pelting, a special training for physical and mental fitness is also being given.

“Our first priority is to always protect the lives of citizens in every situation. We always keep a human angle and it is our duty to protect the civilians. We can never compare a civilian’s action with a terrorist,” In-charge of CRPF Zonal Training Center in Nagrota (Jammu and Kashmir), D.K. Jha told ANI.

He added that the situation in Kashmir is worse than any other state across the country and, therefore, it has been decided by the senior officers to open a Special Training School where the soldiers will be trained to tackle issues related to law and order.

“We train them ‘Progressive Use of Force’, where they are told to hold the crowd with patience and make them calm. Gradually, the force is increased and we try to disperse the crowd as patiently as possible without much pressure. According to the situation, developments take place,” he said.

Jha added that it is made sure that these soldiers remain mentally and physically fit.

“We also want to change their perception so that they spontaneously act on the field in any situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Special Director General (DG) of CRPF Jammu and Kashmir Zone, S.N. Shrivastava said that under the Standard Operating Procedure the trainees are taught to use less force to disperse the unlawful assembly.

“The incidents of stone pelting are taking place since a long time now and our soldiers are tackling it efficiently,” he added.