Saturday, March 16, 2019

Air India Ferried 5000 Soldiers to Srinagar Using Special Night Flights After Pulwama Attack

Air India has ferried around 5,000 army and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel to Srinagar in special night flights in recent weeks as boots on the ground are being strengthened in Jammu and Kashmir after the Pulwama attack. There are at least three flights every night full of security personnel leaving for Srinagar from New Delhi.

Air India is also operating the wide-body 787 Dreamliner from Kolkata to fly soldiers in. There are now Delhi-Leh-Delhi flights twice a week chartered for Border Security Force (BSF) troopers apart from a separate flight for the army on the same route. Another regular Air India chartered service is going to be added for the army on the Delhi-Leh-Chandigarh route.

Sources said that the Union Home Ministry had requisitioned the aircraft which were pulled out of the normal schedule to operate special night flights to Srinagar. After the February 14 Pulwama attack, the Centre had come under criticism for not flying the soldiers as road transport made them vulnerable to terror attacks.
As the situation remain tense in Jammu and Kashmir after crackdown on terrorists by security forces post-Pulwama and the prevailing political situation against the backdrop of Supreme Court taking up challenges to the Constitution's Section 35A, the Centre had decided to dispatch 45 additional companies (around 135 personnel) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 35 companies of the Border Security Force (BSF) and 10 companies each of the Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Indo-Tibetan Police Force (ITBP).
16/03/19 IANS/