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'Stone pelting incidents down by half in Valley'

Incidents of stone pelting in the Kashmir Valley have reduced drastically and come down to half this year due to the "effective" action of security forces and probe agencies against separatists and others, the CRPF DG on Wednesday said.
According to R R Bhatnagar, while a total of 1,590 incidents of stone pelting were registered last year, this year the latest figures are 424, which is "half of what was last year".
"Why or how has this happened? I would say it is a complex phenomenon...it is a mix of everything. It is a mix of what the NIA is doing, it is a mix of state police and security forces doing the kind of control and hence the efforts of the law breakers, stone pelters and violent mobs is effectively blocked and hence pelting has gone down," the DG said while talking to reporters on the eve of the 78th Raising Day of the paramilitary.
"Our assessment is that situation in the Kashmir valley has improved," he said, adding the CRPF was coordinating with the NIA (National Investigating Agency) in its crackdown against separatists and their operatives.
Bhatnagar said with the use of less lethal ammunition, the force which has deployed 60 battalions (about 60,000 personnel) in Jammu and Kashmir, has "effectively been able to control" mobs.
"We have not allowed violent mobs to interfere in the conduct of anti-militancy operations. There is a very close coordination between the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the CRPF and the army," the DG said.
He added good intelligence was coming from the state police and other agencies.
The CRPF top boss said a number of steps were taken in the recent past like re-positioning of the troops, having a new strategy and standard operating procedures (SOPs), to achieve the results that are being seen now. "With the use of less lethal weapons (like pellet guns and pump action guns) we are able to minimise injuries to our troops and also to the mob," he said.
"The number of our personnel injured has also come down to one-third of what was the picture last year. We have had good successes," the 1983-batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre said.
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