M A I N   N E W S

Tired, CRPF men have given up in Bastar
Sujeet Kumar

Raipur, June 30
The Chhattisgarh Police and experts on Maoist warfare are blaming the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for repeatedly falling victim to Maoist guerrillas.

Police sources claim that the CRPF personnel are not only poorly trained to operate in jungle terrain but are also reluctant to take on the well-entrenched Maoists. On top of it, they say, the CRPF personnel refuse to follow intelligence inputs while launching operations deep in the impregnable forests of Bastar region.

“A majority of the CRPF men here are exhausted as they have been dumped in this Maoist nerve centre from other conflict zones such as Kashmir without being given any rest," a senior officer and counter-insurgency expert said. The harsh comments came a day after 25 CRPF personnel and two policemen were massacred by Maoists in Narayanpur district, in the worst such Maoist attack after 36 people were killed in a bus bombing in May. As many as 76 CRPF and police personnel were killed in an ambush in April.

“The Indian government is fighting a war relying on a force that is not ready mentally or physically to take the bull by its horn," said the source who did not want to be identified by name or rank.

"They (CRPF) are ill-trained and ill-equipped and have mentally given up. If the government wants to turn the heat on the Maoists, it must quickly phase out these exhausted CRPF battalions from Chhattisgarh and bring in battalions that have experience of battling insurgency in jungle terrain, such as the Naga and Mizo battalions," the expert said.

A police officer having a record of serving in Maoist bastions for a long period remarked, “keeping the demoralised CRPF is hurting everyone. This includes the government and strategists and above all the local policemen who want to fight and die as war heroes”.

"The big problem in Chhattisgarh now is a big gap in coordination between the CRPF and state police. The CRPF men refuse to use even specific intelligence inputs while going on operations.

They flout standard operating procedures such as sneaking into landmine zones without clearing the areas of explosives," the officer said.

A police officer in Bastar region said 14 CRPF battalions were now deployed in the state. Thirteen are based in Bastar in the south and one battalion is in the northern district of Surguja bordering Jharkhand. — IANS





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