A comic book to boost forces' morale in Kashmir

A comic book to boost forces morale in Kashmir

The 2001 attack on the Srinagar airport is the subject of the 10th illustrated comic book brought out by the CRPF, aimed at boosting the morale of the paramilitary forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

The multi-coloured comic book is one of 12 in the series titled "Shaurya Gaathas" (Valour Stories) involving Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, a force that has lost almost 150 personnel to militant attacks in the state in the past four years.

The 30-40 page comic, printed in Delhi, is to be launched by October or November this year. It will be followed by two other comic books -- "Attack on Raghunath Temple" and "Bravery of Khubi Ram".

The comic on the airport attack shows the bravery of its men who repelled a six-member Laskhar-e-Taiba suicide squad on January 16, 2001, leaving 11 people, including two civilians and three CRPF personnel, dead.

All the six militants were gunned down in the three-hour shootout.

The terrorists were dressed in army fatigues and approached the airport's first entry point, about two kilometres away from the terminal building, in a car.

The CRPF sentries stopped the militants from going further but they lobbed grenades and fired indiscriminately, killing three troopers and injuring nine, including four women.

The Deputy Commandant of the CRPF, Rajiv Kumar, told IANS: "The heroic acts of our personnel will inspire those deputed in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The comic 'Attack on Srinagar' shows how the CRPF foiled the terror strike. I am sure the comic will really motivate our personnel deployed in the Valley," he said.

The CRPF has suffered heavily in the Kashmir Valley, where a separatist campaign raging since late 1989 has left thousands dead.

A total of 2,580 CRPF personnel were injured between July 8, 2016, and February 27, 2017. In all 122 CRPF personnel received grievous injures, 43 were injured in stone-pelting and kerosene or petrol bomb attacks, and 47 suffered when grenades were lobbed from amongst the crowds.

The 300,000-strong CRPF is the country's largest paramilitary force.

Kumar said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who suggested the idea of comic books on the CRPF men's gallantry tales -- months after taking office in 2014.

So far, nine comics have been released.

Over 20,000 copies of each comic have been circulated among new recruits and allied organisations. These will soon go for sale to the public as well.

"Funds generated from the sale of comic books will be spent on the welfare of the families of martyrs," the officer said.

The comics cover, among others, the valour of the CRPF troopers against the Chinese Army in October 1959 in Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, the December 2001 Parliament attack and the July 2005 Ayodhya temple attack.

Written in colloquial Hindi, the stories draw heavily from the regions the soldiers came from. The comics poignantly portray the CRPF men's lives and give detailed accounts of their operations.

The entire project, including compilation of the content, is handled by the CRPF.