At a time when the nation seems shocked and government clueless in dealing with the menace of the Maoists, it would be important to note that just a few days before last week’s bloodbath in Bastar, none less than the Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh had ripped apart the security forces’ approach towards anti-Maoist operations.
Even though a reply, which was desired ‘at the earliest’ by the Home Secretary, is in the final stages of completion, sources revealed that Singh’s biting remarks could have a severe impact over the morale of the troops, already reeling under last week’s spectacular attack carried out by the insurgents. The letter however, makes it amply clear that the Maoists were scoring where the forces failed, thereby urging the forces to pull up their socks.
Written in the form of a covering letter, followed by three pages as enclosures, Singh started by mentioning, “I am enclosing the gist of some thoughts which have been shared with me by different people and the same may be useful in taking corrective steps to improve our operational effectiveness.”
‘Junior level commanders defunct… ops getting deteriorated’
Since Dantewada massacre (April 2010 where 76 jawans were killed), the ops planned nowadays has to go through several levels… coy level ops are decreasing day be day and large scale ops are only planned where there is no involvement of coy commanders or deputy commandants. This practice has made junior level commanders defunct and they merely execute orders. This loss of initiative results in half-hearted efforts from coy commander and thus ops quality is getting deteriorated.”
‘Seniors have become extra cautious’
“After suffering a few losses, senior commanders have become extra cautious. They are not ready to bear losses… try to make fool proof plans by involving maximum available troops which goes through several modifications at various levels. Delay in getting info and executing it timely is a big reason for ops failures.”
Senior commanders try to involve as many troops as they can to avoid risk… resulting in loss of surprise in own troops and failure of command and control… when firing starts it becomes difficult to control troops… Another big reason for ops failure.'”
“Earlier small, spirited teams under their team leaders were free to conduct ops on getting info. However, now more and more troops are involved and the camaraderie is not there. Feeling of a close knit group is absent. So when time arises, the feeling of sacrifice is lacking and thus ops failure.”
Civil police has totally outsourced the anti naxal operations to CRPF. Earlier there used to be close coordination between police station and coy and SP and commandant. Now there is lack of interest on civil police side. When it comes to moving in enemy territory with CRPF they just provide a single police rep. Information that comes to civil police is also not shared as they then might have to take part in ops with CRPF.
‘Ground level inputs not incorporated into ops plan’
Since ground level commanders are not involved in the planning part, their ground appreciation inputs are not incorporated. This freedom of operation to ground level commanders is a must for ops success.
When approached, the Home Secretary confirmed the letter and added, “It is our internal matter. It is important to keep giving feedback to each other.”
He further added, “All Assistant Commandants (ACs) which is the entry-level post for an officer in CRPF is compulsorily posted in Maoist-affected areas. Plus, there is pre-induction training given to them for acclimatisation purposes. As far as involving heavy number of troops is concerned and long term operations are concerned, we go by the situation and take a call. There are no set rules.”