New Delhi, Oct. 5: The CRPF wants to withdraw over 20,000 troops from the Valley for deployment in Assam and Maoist-hit states but the Centre appears wary in the face of Omar Abdullah's reservations.
The desired cut amounts to more than a quarter of the estimated 70,000 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir.
Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is expected to review security during his visit next week to Srinagar where he is scheduled to meet chief minister Omar Abdullah. The trip comes close on the heels of Rahul Gandhi's ongoing tour of the Valley.
Srinagar alone has over 26,000 CRPF troops, while an equal number are on duty in the rest of the Valley. Jammu has an additional 15,000.
The CRPF wants to withdraw 10 battalions each from Srinagar and the rest of Kashmir ' over 20,000 in all ' in a phased manner. A battalion comprises around 1,000 personnel.
"Srinagar alone has 26,000 troops. Does one city need so many? We want to withdraw 20 battalions (from the entire Valley)," said a source.
Outgoing CRPF director-general K. Vijay Kumar had indicated last week that a decision had been taken to withdraw some forces from the state but did not specify a figure.
The home ministry has taken a cautious line, though, with one official warning that the pullout would create a "vacuum". "No, how can troops be suddenly withdrawn?" he said, asked about the CRPF plan.
But the ministry wants two battalions (2,000 personnel) released right away for deployment in Assam, where fears of violence are running high after the recent communal clashes, and is upset at what it sees as Omar's dithering on the issue.
Omar initially told Delhi the two battalions could be released after the Amarnath Yatra, which ended in August. But the troops remain even as Assam faces a shortage.