REVEALED: ‘Faulty, delayed & de-motivated’ is what the Home Secy RK Singh believes our anti-Naxal forces to be

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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.

Hitting out at the security apparatus of Centre as well as the state, Singh’s highly-unprecedented letter put a question mark over the conduct of operation by the forces by red-flagging moot points like lack of motivation, team spirit, ground appreciation, loss of initiative, delays in executing operations, poor grooming to faults in basic tactics.

Home Secretary’s four-page letter to Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Pranay Sahay was written on May 6, 2013.

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.”

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He further divided his enclosures into twelve clear points, excerpts of which are reproduced below:

‘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.”

‘Commanders try to outnumber Maoists not outsmart them’
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.'”
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‘No sync and feel for each other among troops’
“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.”

‘Police does not share info as they then would have to take part in operations’
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.
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‘No grooming of junior leaders being inducted into the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) theatre’
CRPF intelligence wing should also start some serious work in intelligence field rather than doing processing and dissemination of intelligence generated from the State Intelligence Bureau or state police. Off late, security forces are targeting/launching ops against large naxal gathering/meeting. No effort made against local squad or small groups. Long duration’s ops have become a regular feature.

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.”

Sources within the CRPF, however, said that while they were open to criticism, the kind of language and tone of Singh’s letter is bound to demotivate. “We do not completely agree with his assessment. There is a lot of de-centralisation of operations in CRPF and we do give freedom to our junior officers,” said a senior officer.

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.”


5 thoughts on “REVEALED: ‘Faulty, delayed & de-motivated’ is what the Home Secy RK Singh believes our anti-Naxal forces to be”

  1. the person. . . so called Our actual commanders (not in military terminology) but actually as they only command.. are the reasons for the failures. i very well second yr thought “a government which has failed in even appreciating the enemy has little business in picking on hapless troops on the ground”.

    As the policy makers, they don’t have even the slightest idea what policy is to be formulated.??

    the person raising such awkward remarks has realized it after completing his 2 years tenure as Union home secy.. “Applauds for him.”

    Can any one in the media dare to have the blunt interview of such a learned personality that what he “actually” did to tackle this naxal menace in his tenure..?? No false data please….!!!!

    the bloody policy makers / bureaucrats / politicians even have the slightest of idea in what conditions troops are fighting??

    The infrastructure issue for the forces which is being dealt by ministry over a decade has not been able to make any significant changes in the life conditions of our fighters..

    Honorable union Home secretary and his team of distinguished officers are even aware what does the SOP of CRPF (of course issued by MHA only) says…?? Who is supposed to take care if the state machinery is not following?? lets forget about the naxal and far flung areas, has Mr. R.K.Singh ever cared to see how “his” troops are living and being deployed in delhi.?? Even in the national capital where actually Centre’s own police (DELHI POLICE) is responsible.. the SOP on deployment and providing infrastructure is being adhered at the worst. Is he aware.?? whether he is or he is not,… in both conditions he has bloody NO MORAL RIGHT to write such a letter.

    Lots of emphasis is being given on Intelligence. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) India’s internal intelligence agency and reputedly the world’s oldest intelligence agency.- what they are doing?? Why there are no directions from GoI for them..?? are they there real son and CRPF is the step son. CRPF’s intelligence set up is very novice and how it can even be expected for them to have immediate results.

    There are 100s of such issues and union home secy. before writing such letter should have pondered over them and probably could have done something better.

    yesterday, Shri S. K. Das, Assistant Commandant, 211 battalion CRPF killed in an encounter with heavily Maoists when he was leading his troops from the front in an Anti- Naxal Operation, the menace that has been taking the shape of terrorism in recent times. Why the home secy. not issued a single statement over the martyrdom??? Why not even a single line of praise from the ministry and minister for the gallant warrior.??

    Kya dard tabhi hua jab apne minister maare gaye. Aapa-dhapi me statements issue hue,highest level meeting call hui. Top shots of country mid night flight se Raipur me the. . (( that is a separate issue that still the policy makers could not decide what to do.??)) shame on our country’s intellectual bankruptcy..

    these are the very few instances which amply shows that problem is not with the elite, sharp, most multi faceted and professional force which country relies on any and every exigency BUT with the one who are guiding it, utilizing it and the lack of PR in CRPF. YES, that is a big issue. the wonders done by CRPF are neither being projected by Deptt. itself nor by media. Even media makes headlines of any thing wrongly said for the force but never ever projects the great deeds.

    I think people never understand the significance of command and control and things are in a mess. In my years, I have seen reports on those subjects have been sidelined for juicy details. But the truth remains that in any war, we still are not good with basic fundamentals of tactical movement, I think your article brings that out well-very well written.

    It is time that CPOs like BSF, ITBP and CRPF being headed by IPS officers with no mooring or experience in the force must be stopped.

    That was an extraordinarily honest letter which is not common in our system where in official communications, no unpleasant facts are put down in paper. It also revealed an unusual “ear to the ground” bureaucrat whose ilk are normally either ignorant or could not care less about “operational or field leadership” issues. His candour and fairly accurate appreciation of the situation is the need of the hour expected from senior leaderships of all fighting forces. Instead what we generally get are homilies and “general” philosophy which are dished out in a routine manner.

  5. Two other lines of inquiry led the committee to indict the CRPF and the local police. First, it felt that the CRPF’s claims to have fired just 922 rounds from all calibre of weapons was incorrect, given the witness’ perception that firing was heavy. Thes e 922 rounds, the committee notes in paragraph 98 (d), “would have been fired off within 10 to 15 minutes. It is the assessment of the Committee that the CRPF personnel involved have in all probability fired much more than that reported by them on the ba sis of the volume of fire reported and its duration”. This argument, however, rests on subjective assumptions. What civilians may have reported as heavy fire might not, by Army standards, be so. No evidence was called to establish the CRPF’s average rate of fire, or its duration.

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