Srinagar: From dawn to dusk, and sometimes from dusk to dawn as well, the hours pass by in wakeful alertness for paramilitary troopers tasked with ensuring law and order in a land that is many hundred miles from home.
In the long hours of the night, as others try to get some sleep, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans can be heard stomping through the silent streets, armed with lathis and alert to any signs of trouble that might break out in Kashmir’s main city.
The days go in maintaining law and order and manning checkpoints set up in Srinagar and across Kashmir Valley, where restrictions were eased this weekend after August 5 when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and announced its bifurcation into Union territories.
The night brings with it more challenges for some jawans whose workday doesn’t end, but continues in ever watchfulness till the early hours of the morning, officials said.
CRPF Assistant Commandants Sanjeev Yadav from Uttar Pradesh and Bhanushekhar from Bihar are among those frequently patrolling through the city at night.
“Precaution is better than cure,” Yadav said while marching with his team in the interior areas around Dal Lake.
A breeze with the hint of autumn cools the air as the jawans take to the streets after a day of hectic law and order duties.
It’s not just about patrolling. The day for a paramilitary jawan begins early because morning deployment has to be completed before sunrise, said Yadav.
Special care has to be taken to ensure that terrorists have not planted IEDs (improvised explosive devices).
After August 5, barricades came up across the city, particularly in the sensitive downtown area where protesters often pelt stones at security forces.
The important strategy of round-the-clock deployment of paramilitary troops has yielded dividends with stone pelting incidents localised at the ‘mohalla’ level, officials said.
Thousands of CRPF personnel and other forces have been deployed in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley since August 5.