Post the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been at the forefront of pitched street battles in the Kashmir Valley, surviving in adverse conditions and trying to bring down temperatures.
"The jawans have to work in adverse situations, I know comfort is second, but understand the psyche of an officer who is living in a camp which is an enclosed shelter, travels in a vehicle which is caged and then he comes on the duty ground where he has to face all kinds of violence, he witnesses attacks, firing, stone pelting, hostility. There is a limit to everything, as you cannot understand the kind of frustration that engulfs you, but they keep patient," said Rajesh Yadav, Public Relations Officer, CRPF.
"Jawans have to get up really early. They generally have to report between 4.a m and 6 a m. And then, after sunset, he leaves for his camp. Leaving duty hours there is travelling time, so practically, he is out for most of the time of the day. There is no time for rest and personal work. There are no proper washroom facilities, no proper food facilities. And, if in such conditions our jawans are performing, then it is a commendable job," he added.
The protests since the violence hit the valley have claimed the lives of more than 44 citizens and left 2,115 injured. However our jawans are instructed to cause minimum casualties and injuries.
"Our duty schedule has worsened since the time curfew was imposed here. We are facing stone pelting every day, but we do not believe in hurting anyone, we try our best to pacify the situation and disperse the agitating crowd. As we have been given instructions to combat situation, and behave responsibly with the agitators and maintain peace," said Niraj Kumar, CRPF jawan.
The jawans are briefed about the current situations and the challenges they might face that day. It's dangerous work as the jawans are chased by the mobs and if caught, are beaten up.
"The CRPF start their day early, the company is briefed about the status of the situation where it will be deployed. And if someone has committed wrong, we discuss that too," said Baldev Singh Commanding officer 44 Bn CRPF.
With all they take, the only way they can relax themselves is by speaking with their family members; but in the valley, there are communication issues. There is one phone with the commanding officer and is given to the awans for two hours and the whole battalion speaks with their families during the given span of time.
The CRPF has for long worked with the local police to maintain law and order and in counter-insurgency operations. In times of crisis like the present one, the Centre sends additional battalions for reinforcements.
According to reports, there are about 40,000 CRPF jawans from 47 battalions deployed in 10 districts of the state affected by the violence. Of these, 25 battalions are posted in Srinagar alone. Apart from the CRPF, there are paramilitary forces, such as the Border Security Force (BSF), posted in the Valley. And while the paramilitary forces haven't reported any deaths, as many as 1,671 men have been injured.