SRINAGAR, MAY 28: A series of suicide attacks by militants on government forces’ installations last year have forced the police to raise height of walls around them to a minimum of 12 feet.
A suicide attack on August 20 particularly left a few lessons for the police. On that day militants took advantage of a low and under construction rare wall of District Police Lines, Pulwama to sneak in, leaving eight government forces personnel dead. The three attackers were also killed.
After a series of reviews for security of the forces’ installations and how heavily armed militants managed to enter fortified camps, police decided to plug the loopholes by renovating all police stations and raising the height of walls around them to at least 12 feet.
“Pulwama attack left major lessons for the police to learn. We started a massive exercise of renovating the police stations,” a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Raising the heights of walls was also part of the plan. The money was released by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under Security Related Expenditure (SRE).”
Another officer at the Police Headquarters said Rs 200 Crore sanctioned by the union Ministry of Home Affairs have been received.
“A major chunk of this amount is being spent on the renovation, repair and raising the heights of walls (around police installations),” he said, adding sensitive districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag were taken up first.
“Srinagar and other districts are being covered gradually,” he said.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir range, Swayam Prakash Pani confirmed that police stations across Kashmir were being renovated.
“We are also raising the height of walls of police stations and other important police installations in Kashmir,” Pani told Greater Kashmir.
The army and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) followed suit.
An army officer, however, said they started “overhauling of its security installations” soon after Panthankote and Uri suicide attacks in 2016.
“We have a separate security budget. We receive funds from the defence ministry directly,” said a senior army officer posted in Srinagar.
“We started from raising the heights of walls to minimum 12 feet at some places to 15 feet where walls were low in height. These are security measures aimed at preventing fidayeen militants from sneaking inside the camps.”
Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarters is a case in point. The height of its existing boundary wall has been increased from eight feet and six feet to 12, 14 or 16 feet.
“We have adjusted it keeping in view the ground level,” a source in the army said. “In rest of the districts, same procedure has been followed. We have also installed latest alarms at the main entrance gates.”
The paramilitary CRPF too have upgraded the security of its camps and training centres.
In one of the suicide attacks last year, militants managed entry into the Lethpora camp from the rear side where boundary wall of the camp was under construction.
“We witnessed major strikes by Jaish militants last year, one on the DPL (District Police Lines) Pulwama, Lethpora CRPF camp and also at the BSF camp near Srinagar airport,” another police officer said.
“We have taken enough measures to fight militants outside the camps, whenever they try to sneak into force’s installations.”
According to security officials, in a bid to give a breather to Hizb and Lashkar militants, Jaish-e-Mohammad group reappeared on the scene and launched suicide attacks on government forces.
Majority of the militants who targeted forces’ camps were killed before they could inflict massive damage. (GK)