A top-down effort at re-booting 3,35,000 strong Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) – country’s internal security provider seems to have turned into a turf war.
“If a person turns 75, he is considered an old person. But the same cannot be said about you my friends in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), for yours is a veteran organisation,” said Home Minister Rajnath Singh, speaking on the 75th anniversary of the CRPF at its Gurgaon-based academy on November 13. His remarks drew thunderous applause from the men and officers of world’s largest paramilitary force. Unknown to most present there, on November 5, Singh’s ministry had put into motion an unprecedented, time-bound plan to revamp the force by re-evaluating each and every aspect of the force’s functioning. That plan has run into rough weather with resistance coming from the highest levels within the force, including the Director General himself.
A note from the MHA, a copy of which is available with this correspondent, stated ‘to examine all issues relation to the functioning of CRPF with a view to enable the force to efficiently discharge its responsibilities as the lead Counter-insurgency Force of the Union with special emphasis on the LWE (Left Wing Extremism) theatre’. It constituted two, 4-member committees under former CRPF chiefs K Vijay Kumar and AS Gill and sets a time period of 60 days for submission of their reports. Work has already commenced.
Reacting to this, DG CRPF, Dilip Trivedi, said, “I frankly do not see the need for this. Administrative action at the level of the DG would have sufficed.” When asked whether the government’s move to examine all issues indicated it was unhappy with the force, he replied, “What the government feels about the force is best answered by the government.” Interestingly, the MHA note puts Trivedi’s name as the fourth member of both the committees. Asked if he attended the first meet under AS Gill held last week, he responded in the negative. Whether or not he will take part in future deliberations, he said, “I do not think so. It mentions my name as the DG CRPF. By this month end, I will have retired and then it won’t be required of me to attend.”
Trivedi’s resistance stems from the fact that under him, earlier this year, the CRPF had wanted to implement a new transfer policy and re-organise command and control. However, owing to resistance from within, matters went before the then Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and got stalled. Now, the MHA not only wants to re-evaluate the above-mentioned issues but look at a host of others too. And to do so, it has widened the debate by roping in many more, beyond those in the hierarchy. Sections within the CRPF indicated their unhappiness with the MHA. “We would have welcomed the MHA’s action had they done what was required of them. For years we have been asking them for a hardship allowance for our jawans fighting the Maoists but it has not materialized. Issues like adhoc deployment and lack of bullet proof vests, helmets etc are all courtesy the MHA,” said a senior officer.
Defending the move, a Home Ministry official said, “Home Minister wants to develop CRPF as an operationally fit force for fighting the Maoists and all will be done to ensure that goal is met.” K Vijay Kumar, former DG CRPF when contacted said, “This is a time-bound action decided at the highest level of the national security apparatus. All should join. Everyone’s views will be given the highest regard.”
· K.Vijay Kumar, Senior Security Adviser (LWE), MHA-Chairman.
· Members- Durga Prasad, Director, SPG, Maj Genl(Retd) VK Dutta, Maj Genl(Retd) Dalbir Singh. NS Bhatti, OSD, Greyhounds, Dilip Trivedi, DG, CRPF.
· Will examine: Training, SOPs, Intelligence, Operations Modernisation etc
· AS Gill, Ex-DG,CRPF-Chairman,
· Members.- PM Nair, Ex-DG,NDRF, 2. Valsa Kumar, Ex-ADG,CRPF, GJ Singh,Ex-IGP,CRPF, Gurcharan Singh,Ex-IGP,CRPF, Dilip Trivedi ,DG,CRPF.
· Re-organisation of command and control, co-location of battalions and group centres, weaponry, equipment, incentives etc.