Effective response to Pulwama attack showed India can take strong decisions for its troops: Shah

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New Delhi, Feb 19 (PTI) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday said by giving an 'effective response' to the 2019 Pulwama attack, India set an example that it can take strong decisions for the respect of its troops.

Unveiling a book here on the 82-year history of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the largest paramilitary force of the country, Shah said the central armed police forces (CAPFs) like the CRPF are faced with very tough working conditions and they never got their 'due recognition', but his government is determined to ensure that the lives of these personnel and their families are made better.

'The country remembers the Pulwama attack with a lot of sensitivity and empathy. Forty CRPF personnel were martyred in the incident.

'But it was the first time that by giving an effective reply, India ensured that this sacrifice of the CRPF personnel did not go waste and set an example that it can take the strongest decision for the respect of its troops,' he said.

On February 14, 2019, a CRPF bus, which was part of a convoy of 78 vehicles, was targeted between Jammu and Srinagar by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber who rammed his explosives-laden car into it, killing 39 personnel on board and one trooper on the ground, who was tasked with road-sanitisation duty.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an air strike in Pakistan's Balakot soon after on February 26, targeting terror camps.

Shah said he believes this sacrifice will inspire generations as he spoke at the evening event at a CRPF complex in the Vasant Kunj area, after returning from a two-day tour of West Bengal.

He praised the personnel of the CRPF and those of the other CAPFs, saying they work under very tough conditions and have no definite duty hours.

'I believe that the way the CAPFs and state police forces work, they never got their due fame and recognition.

'I am trying to ensure better facilities.... I have not been successful yet.... But we are working to ensure that the housing satisfaction level among the personnel of the CAPFs reaches up to 85 per cent and that every jawan gets to spend 100 days with their families every year,' the home minister said.

He lauded the CRPF saying it has made a glorious history for itself and there was no instance where it showed its back in the face of adversity.

Shah said the book he released, titled 'Rashtra Pratham' (country first), will provide inspiration to the serving personnel of the force and even to those who aspire to join it and serve the country.

'The book aptly describes how anti-nation conspiracies hatched by various elements were thwarted by the force and I hope that more tales of bravery and courage are added to it,' he said.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also attended the event.

Earlier in the day, CRPF Director General A P Maheshwari declared that the third Friday in February will hence forth be observed as the 'veterans' day'.

According to CRPF spokesperson Moses Dhinakaran, the force has about four lakh surviving veterans and a number of them were invited to the events that were held on Friday.

The about 3.25 lakh personnel-strong Central Reserve Police Force was raised as the Crown Representative's Police (CRP) under the British in 1939 and a decade later, in 1949, it was re-named as CRPF.

It is the lead internal security force of the country with three of its main tasks being anti-Naxal operations, counter-terrorist combat in Jammu-Kashmir and tackling insurgency in the northeast. PTI NES RC