Govt decides to stop Srinagar mobile signal jammers
Kashmir chief ministers have been scaled down further with the Union Territory administration’s decision to stop the deployment of signal jammer and ambulances during their movement within the Srinagar district, according to officials.
On Saturday, veteran politician and Lok Sabha member Farooq Abdullah were seen offering prayers at the famous Hazratbal shrine and Dasgeer Saab in downtown Srinagar but there was neither an ambulance nor were there signal jammers, which, among other things, also block signals in cases where terrorists have planted an improvised explosive device that can be triggered by remote control.
However, the officials, said during the inter-district movement of former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti signal jammers and ambulances will continue to be deployed.
This comes in the wake of the recent decision to downsize the Special Security Group (SSG), which had been created under a law enacted by the assembly of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir for the protection of chief ministers and former chief ministers. Subsequently, the SSG cover for the four former chief ministers was withdrawn and their protection was entrusted to the security wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which will be backed by central armed paramilitary forces.
Queries to the Jammu and Kashmir Police on the subject elicited no formal response. The move comes at a time when Srinagar city has been witnessing terrorist-related violence since last year.
Many encounters between security forces and militants have taken place within the city's limits besides some targeted killings of civilians being carried out by the Resistance Front, a shadow group of the banned terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba. The Jammu and Kashmir administration had withdrawn SSG protection after it was decided to downsize the elite unit established in 2000.
This move came over 19 months after the Centre issued a gazette notification Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020, on March 31, 2020, under which it amended the Special Security Group Act of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir government by omitting a clause that provided former chief ministers and their families with SSG cover.
The officials said the SSG was in the process of being “right-sized” by reducing the number of personnel in the elite force to a “bare minimum” and that it will be headed by an officer below the rank of superintendent of police as against a director, who is in the rank of an inspector general of police or above. The SSG has now been entrusted with the security of serving chief ministers and their immediate family members.