Tag Archives: Internal security

RE-UP: #BSF chief declares full force as corruption-prone, sparks outrage within

5858e466-f346-47be-8f04-539e87a37e0f

Many are surprised, some are shocked and the rest are silent.

In October 2015, DK Pathak, the former Director General (DG) of the Border Security Force (BSF) remarked how the ‘elite’ force he was ‘proud to lead’ had ‘very less’ number of corruption cases. Within 20 months, things have a turn for the worse or so it seems. In a two-page order issued last month by the current DG, KK Sharma’s office, almost all posts and appointments in the force ‘have been identified as sensitive posts and corruption prone areas in the BSF’. No justification, further explanation or course of action has been provided in the said order.

The order was issued by the Pers Section of the Pers Directorate which deals with personnel-related issues and can be equated with the Human Resource (HR) wing in other organisations. The order has been ‘approved by the competent authority’ (a reference to the Director General himself) and goes on to list six formations which it believes are corruption-prone and sensitive. Beginning with all appointments and directorates within the Force Headquarters, the order goes on to list Command Headquarters, training institutions, Frontier Headquarters all the way to the Sector Headquarters and Battalion Headquarters. A closer reading of the order reveals how even junior and functional offices have not been spared from the taint of being ‘corruption-prone’. For example, those dealing with ration and welfare at the battalion headquarters have been placed under this order’s ambit. Those dealing with recruitment, postings, construction, cash and accounts and even vigilance matters will have a tougher scrutiny over their work thanks to this order.

SHRI D K PATHAK, DG BSF
DG BSF KK Sharma

The exercise to identify such posts is a routine one but the broad sweep with which almost the entire organisation has been identified has led to raised eyebrows.

“The length and scope of this list is unprecedented since it almost covers the entire organisation. Some posts in the procurement department, because they involve dealing with external suppliers, may be considered sensitive and corruption prone. But how is the motor transport department for example being seen with the same lens? As I see it, pe

ATTARI - WAGHA
“The length and scope of this list is unprecedented since it almost covers the entire organisation. As I see it, people have failed in applying their minds”, said SK Sood

ople have failed in applying their minds”, said SK Sood, former Additional Director General of the BSF. It was believed that this list could also be used to justify transfers before the completion of tenures. Interestingly while the order states ‘all appointments’ for nearly all the formations, it also contradicts itself and specifies posts which have been brought under this order.

Many within the force are seeing this as a measure of the panic in the wake of the controversy involving Constable Tej Bahadur Yadav who had earlier this year alleged corruption leading to poor nutrition for lower functionaries of the force. To prove his point Yadav had uploaded on social media video clips in which he was seen displaying the allegedly substandard food being served on duty. Yadav was dismissed from service on April 19 this year by a Summary Security Force Court which heard the case from April 13. Serving BSF men who spoke to this correspondent on the basis of anonymity said the force was trying to improve and tighten its vigilance component.

Despite sending a questionnaire neither the BSF Headquarters nor the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) presented their viewpoint on the issue.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bsf-corruption-all-posts-corruption-prone-kk-sharma-tej-bahadur-yadav/1/997938.html

Advertisements

Born inside the Union Home Ministry, I am SOP and here’s my story…

My name is Standard Operating Procedure. You can call me SOP.

You will hear about me whenever something goes terribly wrong or a tragedy strikes. Many carry the impression that my tribe is the cure to all ills.

Now I am not simply called SOP. That’s too generic. I have a special number assigned on file but mentioning that may make matters too technical.

Well, I was born as a two-page letter on August 3, 2010, at the hands of a clerk who worked for the then special secretary (internal security) Mr UK Bansal. In my early moments, I recall Mr Bansal sending me from his chamber located on the first floor of the North Block which houses the ministry of home affairs (MHA) to the headquarters of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the CRPF, Border Security Force (BSF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

Why was I created and what was the message I carried?

Back in 2010, home minister Mr P Chidambaram was said to be serious in securing the Left-wing extremism (LWE)-affected areas. These were sizeable parts of central and eastern India where rebels from the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) were wreaking havoc. Once when I was lying on the desk at an office I heard how four months before I was born, Maoist rebels killed 75 men from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and one policeman in a single attack in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district!

DSC_0417

The government’s efforts however hit a roadblock when they realised that the local police forces in their states had neither the training nor the numbers to take on the Maoist insurgents who called the jungle their home. So, till the police could build themselves up, the CAPFs would help them with numbers and fire power. It was to be a partnership.

As time passed, Mr Bansal, a 1974-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre, wasn’t very happy about how this partnership was progressing. The CAPFs, which did not belong there, did not know the region or for that matter even the local language, felt like foreigners. The local police on the other hand did not suffer these disadvantages but they did not participate enough. The Maoists exploited this. They killed many of our men.

On my two pages, Mr Bansal had written that for every one policeman participating in an operation, two men from CAPFs would do so too, thus maintaining a ratio of 1:2. He revised it to 1:3 later for “any planned operation”. Only in case of an urgent operation could reduced police participation be allowed. You see the point he was making?

Have you wondered how many policemen participated in the “planned” operations to support road construction in Bhejji on March 11 and in Burkapal on April 24 where the CRPF lost 37 men? Two constables in Bhejji and one in Burkapal! This despite the MHA recently stating that there are “over 20,000 state police personnel” and “45,000 central forces personnel” posted in there.

People in power have no idea about my existence.

When journalist Jugal Purohit went about asking, here is what he found:

– Abhishek Meena, Superintendent of Police, Sukma: No such guidelines exist and no such guidelines can be adhered to.

– DM Awasthi, Special Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh: Such instructions can’t be followed.

– Sudeep Lakhtakia, Additional Director General, CRPF: I will have to check up.

– K Vijay Kumar, senior security adviser, MHA: You cannot have such rigidity.

– The spokesperson of the MHA did not offer any explanation.

This is my reality.

Someone sitting removed from the actual situation thought about me and pushed me down the throats of others who had their own ideas. Then when something went wrong, newer people came together and created newer SOPs. Lessons were seldom learnt. I remain forgotten.

IMG-20160330-WA0009
CRPF personnel killed when the Maoists detonated a landmine under the truck they were moving in. March 30, 2016 MAILAWADA in DANTEWADA DISTRICT. IMAGE SOURCE: Author 

Contrast this with our enemy who bears the name of a foreigner who died more than 40 years ago. That enemy deploys his tactics and remains guided by his doctrine even today. He hasn’t forgotten.

THIS PIECE FIRST APPEARED ON THE DAILYO PORTAL:

http://www.dailyo.in/voices/sukma-attack-maoists-crpf-sop/story/1/16963.html

BOOK REVIEW: On tackling Maoist question, an effort to provide answers

How should India grow? Does ‘growth’ have the same meaning for everyone whether in the cities or resource-rich hinterland? Do growth and displacement of natives compulsorily go hand in hand? For India to grow what is needed more – preserving tribal way of life of its natives or exploiting the resource-rich lands they inhabit? What if their grievances create hurdles in the path of growth? 

Author Rohit Prasad in ‘Blood Red River’ has chosen the troubled landscape of Bastar in southern Chhattisgarh to understand how the Indian state is answering these questions.

Located in the heart of the country, the state of Chhattisgarh means many things depending on which side one is looking at. A politically and financially stable state, a state with perhaps the richest resources both in terms of mineral and bio-diversity in the country, a state with nearly 44 per cent of its territory covered by forests, a state which has over 30 per cent of its population coming from a vibrant variety of tribes or a state locked in a brutal embrace with a rebellion which refuses to ebb even after fifty years of its emergence.

The rebels, members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), seek to violently overthrow parliamentary democracy which they believe is a sham. The response of the government hinges on quelling the rebellion with its armed might and addressing the needs of the masses by the means of development.

The armed struggle is visible and chronicled. In comparison, the politics of development, supposed to exemplify in myriad ways the healing touch of an absent state, remains hard to track, harder to grasp. Touted as ‘a journey into the heart of India’s development conflict’, the book stands out for its focus.

Divided into sections segregated by short chapters within, the book is a sincere attempt at providing the reader with the understanding of a topic which can hardly be termed easy. A largely smooth and uninterrupted flow does emerge as the author switches between anecdotes, damning data dug from a multitude of reports, the annals of history, regulations governing the relationship between tribes and their home, the forest, the vibrant hope of a promising economy, the industrial lure of exploiting a resource-rich territory, instances of flawed ‘development’ and a society eclipsed by the shadow of the conflict which has consumed over 12000 lives. On offer are solid glimpses into the unholy nexus that exists on the ground between the government, the insurgents and the private sector which works to perpetuate the conflict at the expense of the locals.   

Interestingly, as the author, a business school professor based out of Gurugram, admits, he’d initially set out to analyse a different subject before stumbling upon something ‘far more complex’ and ‘fundamental’ which led him to write this book.

Rohit Prasad’s ground reporting from the affected region ensures the reader is exposed to the colour, the festivals, the customs as also the difficult path tribes find themselves treading and how there is corrosion of that timeless society underway as a result. Aptly captured case studies make the reader aware of the lost lives of faultless, promising youngsters in the region.   

On the flip side, there are times when the narrative shifts from story-telling to either philosophy or sweeping generalisations. Then there are outlandish claims like where the author says the US Army special forces supported Indian armed police in 2009 offensive against the Maoists! There are also times when objective analysis turns subjective. However, the biggest drawback that book suffers from is the lack of a direct Maoist voice. Scrutinising their ‘developmental works’ in their ‘janatana sarkar’ (local government in areas they term liberated) and their model would have added to the book’s effort by making two sides of the divide clear and visible to the reader.

To conclude, ‘Blood Red River’ is an introduction into a less dimension in the debate over development. Few understand that it is also essential.

MISSING IN KHAKHI: India has a deficiency of 25% when it comes to policemen & we do nothing about it

The National Security Guard (NSG) was set up in 1984 to deal with ‘all facets of terrorism’. However, such have been the circumstances that after the November 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai, the force, despite its enhanced presence thanks to the hubs, it has not seen any ‘action’ in the over 700 terrorist incidents which have seen over 500 deaths. What does this tell?

No matter what, it is the men in khakhi, our policemen, who inevitably are the first responders. In some cases, like the July 27 Gurdaspur terrorist attack and other low-profile attacks in hinterland, they wrap it up too. And towards their assistance come forces like the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). This is so on account of the police’s proximity, presence on ground and the manner of attack by the terrorists which ensures that situations are hardly prolonged for outside forces to move, arrive and tackle.

Are we then giving the police personnel what they need?

Hardly.

Remember Punjab Police’s SWAT team going to take on terrorists without as little as even a bullet proof jacket or a helmet? Or policemen after the Udhampur attack checking  the slain terrorists’ body for booby traps without wearing bomb disposal gear? Or Mumbai police in 2008, tackling automatic AK47  wielding terrorists with inadequate weapons and protection? This list is endless, actually.

States have seldom seen merit in investing in modern police forces. Collecting political intelligence on rivals, performing bandobast duties and ensuring VIP protection are the traditional roles our political class secretly envisaged and equipped the police for. The very fact that the centre had to step in by means of a Modernisation of State Police Forces (MPFs) scheme launched in 1969-70 and continues to do so even today is what else if not a proof.

To compound matters, contemporary data from the Ministry of Home Affairs doesn’t quite reverse the trend.

Based on the sanctioned strength as on January 1 2014, India needs a total of 22,83,646 cops in its 35 states and Union Territories (UTs). Against this, only 17,22,786 have been actually appointed, leading to a deficit of 5,60,860 or 25 per cent. The MHA says it has been advising the states to implement a time-bound program and fill the vacancies yet not much has changed. Given that ‘police’ and ‘public order’ under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution are state subjects, MHA admits, it can only do so much. Should something be done or let matters rest as they have been is the question then.

While it may be poignant to note that administrative hubs like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra have glaring number of vacancies to fill, it is outright disturbing to see a similar trend in frontline states like Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Punjab.

While many feel that given the present scenario, a re-thinking is in order, the question over whether or not policing continues to remain the domain of the state governments was put paid to by the MHA earlier this year in a remarkable fashion.

Responding to a question by Lok Sabha MP from Bangalore Central, PC Mohan, over the preparedness of police forces with regards to weapons and equipment to tackle ‘terrorist and naxalite activities’, MHA said it had no centralized data of weapons holdings of states!

The way things work is that the state governments prepare State Action Plan (SAP) which includes the weapons purchase component. SAP is sent to the MHA for scrutiny and subsequently, funds under the Modernisation of State Police Forces (MPF) are released. When it comes to weapons, MHA directly pays the ordinance factories for weapon manufacturing.

Before concluding, the MHA response tersely noted, “Equipment to be procured under the MPF depend on the priorities of the state government.”

Back then to square one, aren’t we?

APPEARED FIRST IN DAILYO – http://www.dailyo.in/politics/indian-police-mha-terror-attacks-udhampur-gurdaspur-mumbai-2008-rajnath-singh/story/1/5795.html

MY PIECE: Post Sukma ambush, CRPF’s two field officers get the boot; inquiry against top boss under a cloud

Report in MAIL TODAY newspaper on December 19
Report in MAIL TODAY newspaper on December 19

Recovering from a deadly blow dealt by the Maoists in the form of killing 14 of its men and looting their weapons, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has decided to move on. However, with a step forward it has also taken a step back which has raised many eyebrows not just among its rank and file but even outside.

Confirming reports about a poor fighting effort and a failure of command and control among its different battalions involved in December 1 ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has ‘attached’ and relieved from command two of its leading officers who commanded two key units who participated in the ill-fated operations.

Even as it does so, it’s effort to conduct an impartial probe into the issue has come under a cloud. The reason behind this has to do with the Presiding Officer of the Court of Inquiry (CoI) launched into this episode.

Field officers get the boot

In an order dated December 11, the CRPF HQs “attached” the Commanding Officer (CO) 223 General Duty battalion from which all the men who perished belonged alongwith a Deputy Commandant who was the officer leading 206 CoBRA battalion, a specialised force. The order has sought the respective formations to relieve these officers on an immediate basis. “They will not be given any task and will remain attached with their zonal headquarters in Kolkata,” it was learnt. When asked Director General CRPF RC Tayal said, “While there was a failure of command and control in the case of 223 battalion and the Commanding Officer was not around, in the case of CoBRA battalion, we observed that they failed to act and could not prevent the looting of arms despite not being too far from the embattled troops of 223 battalion.” According to Tayal, these actions emanated from the initial findings. “Nobody is off the hook yet, including the Inspector General HS Sidhu who was leading the operations on the ground. I am personally looking into the case,” Tayal added.

However this move has not gone down well with the force.

Said an officer aware of the entire operation, “The CO of 223 battalion had been called by the IG for a meet when the Maoists began firing. He took time to reach the location as the meet was some distance away and had to make his way back while the firing was on.” CO 223 battalion who was leading 90 odd men from his battalion was unharmed while his Deputy Commandant and Assistant Commandant fell to the Maoist bullets with 12 other men. In the case of the CoBRA Deputy Commandant, his party with specialised weapons claimed they had participated and even rescued some of the injured.

Cloud over inquiry

The CoI looking into the episode is presided over by DIG Sanjay Kumar who is stationed at Raipur and is administratively under the IG in this case. “Can you expect the DIG to scrutinize his boss? The IG was personally leading the operations on ground so like others his actions also need to be scrutinized. With this move I am confident that no fault whatsoever of the IG will be found,” said a CRPF officer.

Retired Additional Director General of CRPF, DC Dey agreed, “Someone from outside should have been assigned this task”. Former Director General of Border Security Force (BSF) Prakash Singh said, “The force headquarters needs to step in. I understand that the IG was on the field and he may not have anything to hide but a senior officer who could have examined the IG’s role too should have been asked to investigate. Otherwise it won’t carry conviction.”

While the IG refused to comment, sources in Raipur said there was no problem at all in anyone inquiring. “The force headquarters asked the IG to appoint an inquiry and he did. If there is any apprehension then CRPF HQ should directly handle matters, there will not be any resistance”, said a source.

The operation was not planned as it should have been: RC Tayal, DG CRPF

Q. What is the takeaway from this ambush for the CRPF?
A. There is no meaning in conducting operations by announcing our presence and moving in broad day light in areas dominated by the Maoists. We have decided that we will carry out our movements by night now onwards. We have also decided to improve motivation levels among our men, incentivize postings in Maoist-affected areas and plan better. MHA is already in the loop on this.

Q. Is that then an admission that this operation was not planned properly?
A. I would say that it was not planned the way it should have been.

Q. This operation also saw minimal participation from the side of the police. Do you then believe that in the time to come the CRPF can/should take on operations in unfamiliar terrain without the local police’s participation?
A. Our role is that of being in aid to the civil police. My view is that there is no meaning in conducting operations unless the state leadership comes forward. It is flawed model if we believe CRPF can take the lead and do operations on its own

DG CRPF’s plain-speak during his final press conf. Read this for an insider’s account of a top IPS officer

Following is the gist of some of the pointers from the final press conference of the outgoing Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Dilip Trivedi:

1. A lot of consultants are floating around and they manage to secure contracts also. People take our details and do their studies. After all of this, governments want us to give comments. What are we to say?

2. States need to ensure Maoists do not get their hands on explosives. It is the job of DM and SP. Violence levels will go down if we can do so.

3. In some ways state governments have a stake in ensuring this violence continues. They get a lot in terms of aid.

4. CRPF is operationally most troubled force in the country, working in the most challenging circumstances. Found this when I was taking over.

5. Systemic policies have gone towards encouraging/formenting trouble in JK and North East.

6. Govt is lacking a systemic approach towards choking supply of explosives that Maoists have access to. Such a system is not in place.

7. Problems that the country faces are not just of the police, other agencies need to get involved too

8. Have found people seeking transfers on the flimsiest of grounds in CRPF

9. COMMITTEE MADE BY MHA TO EXAMINE CRPF (He laughed)
Committees attract retired people, govt is not interested in serving people for some reason. After I retire nobody is going to be bothered about this issue. People are waiting to see my back.

STORY WITH PHOTOS: Senior Maoist commander nabbed while visiting his love interest

IMG-20140218-WA0001

In a move that will severely hit the operational strength of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in Jharkhand’s most affected regions, the Latehar Police and 11th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have nabbed a zonal commander who was involved in multiple killings in the region for over a decade. Narayan Yadav alias Kaushal (40) was nabbed early this morning when he was visiting his lover’s house Palleya village under the Manika Police Station in Latehar.

With a total of 25 cases registered against his name, Yadav carried a reward of Rs 3 lakh on his head and his arrest will severely dent the insurgent group’s capability.

“It is a big boost for us. Yadav’s association with the Maoists runs deep. He has been involved with them since 1998, when it was called the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC),” said Dr. Michael Raj, Superintendent of Police, Latehar. He was arrested in the past but had managed to flee from the prison, a decade ago.

—————————————————-

YOUTUBE LINK HERE:

—————————————————-

Giving details of the operation, being termed as an intelligence-based one, an officer revealed, “We got an input about him coming to meet a woman he was in love with. This input came in by 11:30pm last night and we mobilised a platoon (nearly 30 men) and trekked into the region for nearly four hours to reach the spot.” When the place was identified, it was cordoned off and Yadav tried hiding but troops stormed in and made the arrest. Yadav was alone at the time of his arrest. From the site, the joint team recovered his personal .315 rifle, four cartridges, two detonators as well as Maoist literature – an indication of how he was unguarded and not expecting an arrest.

IMG-20140218-WA0002

As of now, Yadav has been remanded to judicial custody and the police will seek his custody soon. A native of the same village where he was arrested, Yadav joined the ranks when the entire area was dominated by the Maoists.

BOX: Recent incidents in Latehar, Jharkhand

  • January 2013: 11 men from the CRPF were killed when they were ambushed in the Katiya forest
  • March 2013: 24 LPG cylinders, 18 pressure cookers and six kilograms of explosives recovered
  • April 2013: Maoists blew up railway tracks at 10:30pm, roughly 309 minutes before the passage of Rajdhani Express
  • April 2013: Seven Maoist cadres gunned down in a gun battle
  • June 2013: Eight Maoists shot down in a gun battle
  • September 2013: Maoists abducted ten children to recruit them as soldiers. One of them died while he was being trained.
  • November 2013: Five security forces personnel injured in an encounter
  • November 2013: 22 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) seized by forces
  • December 2013: Twelve landmines recovered

(Data courtesy: South Asia Terrorism Portal)