Ten districts of Kashmir Valley and two Jammu districts remain under curfew as the entire region remains covered a thick security blanket with a ratio of about 30 civilians—including women and children—to one security personnel who is either from the state police, paramilitary or the Army.
While Doda and Kistwar are the two Jammu districts, the 10 Valley districts are Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Budgam, Srinagar, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara.
With only about 200 satellite phones given to top civil administration and police officials, internet and mobile phone networks pulled down, the Valley remains virtually cut off from the outside world though transport of essential supplies are being enabled.
While the total number of troops in the militancy-hit Kashmir Valley districts is a no-go area, one can only hazard a guess at best by number-crunching from random figures available now and then and by speaking to official sources.
At present, the number of boots-on-the-ground is one of the thickest in recent times. Based on back-of-the-envelope calculations, it is estimated that there are about 2,70,000 uniformed men mandated to combat insurgency, man the borders and to maintain law and order.
Accounting for simple demographic growth on an annual basis, the estimated 2019 population in the Kashmir Valley would be in the range of 82 lakh in the about 16,000 sq km region of the ten Valley districts. The militants are believed to be active in about five of the 10 districts.
There are essentially three major components as far as the security forces go. It would comprise the Army which would have the Rashtriya Rifles under its wing, the paramilitary forces including the CRPF, BSF and the ITBP, and finally the Jammu and Kashmir state police forces.
With the state police and its various branches accounting for about 1,25,000 men, about 90,000 can be safely assumed to be present in the Valley.
The paramilitary which includes the CRPF, ITBP and the BSF would together total about 1,00,000 men which includes the additional 38,000 moved in during the course of the last week.
The Army has two infantry divisions stationed in the Valley which would translate to about 50,000 soldiers. In addition, the Rashtriya Rifles—a specialized anti-militancy force comprising army personnel carrying light weapons and drawn from various Army regiments—has got two components, viz the Kilo Force and the Victor Force which would together mean about 30,000 soldiers.
The mandate of the Army is to guard the Line of Control at the border with Pakistan along with a few BSF battalions. It also leads the unified command structure set to counter militancy with the Rashtriya Rifles leading the charge. The paramilitary forces’ main area of operations are in the densely populated areas with the prime duty to mount counter-insurgency operations in the hinterland and also to assist the state forces in maintaining law and order whenever called in.