Tag Archives: Ministry of Home Affairs

CRPF SUKMA BLAST: Did not check the road for mines admits Chhattisgarh Police

Does the left hand know what the right is doing? Not always.

In a stunning revelation, it is now emerging that neither the local police nor the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) – both tasked with countering the left-wing Maoist violence in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh – bothered checking the road for mines before allowing troops to ply on it leading to the carnage on March 13 where nine policemen were killed in an mine explosion.

Around noon on Tuesday, in the state’s Sukma district, men from 212 battalion of the CRPF were commuting from the Kistaram camp to the one at Palodi when their Mine Protected Vehicle (MPV) was blasted by insurgents using an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Two more policemen who were in the same vehicle are currently being treated for the injuries they sustained.

While the CRPF maintained that the state police was tasked with clearing the road from all forms of threat on that ill-fated day, the state police said did not have the resources required for that task.

Sundarraj Patilingam, the Chhattisgarh Police Deputy Inspector General (DIG) who looks at the violence-hit region said, “On that day, the state police undertook an area domination exercise (this involves occupying the dominating features along a route to secure a large area) between Kistaram and Palodi. It was a decision taken based on resources available before the officials on ground. In hindsight, we believe a more intensive de-mining and ROP (Road Opening Party is specifically tasked with minutely scanning the road to terminate threats like the IEDs) could have resulted in detection of the IED. Therefore the incident could have been averted”.

He added, “But ideal conditions don’t always exist and senior officials have to visit camps”.

For years now, Maoist rebels have used IEDs planted underneath the road surface to target security personnel. A thorough ROP is thus the only way to counter the threat.

Vehicular movements are generally avoided unless personnel actually conduct an ROP exercise and give the green light.

Warning was ignored 

Barely five hours before the mine blast, the Maoists fired upon personnel from the CRPF’s special unit, CoBRA (208th battalion) ahead of the Kistaram camp at about 7am.

“We’d hardly covered three kilometres on our way to Palodi, nearly 250 Maoist insurgents attacked us. We hit them back and they retreated,” said a policeman who was aware of the fight.

As a result of this, a pre-planned visit to the Kistaram and other camps by the Sukma Superintendent of Police and senior CRPF officer was cancelled.

Nevertheless, at around 9am, the SP, Abhishek Meena, landed in a helicopter at Kistaram, unaccompanied by the senior CRPF officer.

“Our 208 CoBRA had warned about the presence of large number of Maoists with sophisticated arms in the area. The Sukma Superintendent of Police (SP) went ahead with his pre-planned visit after assessing the situation. Our Commanding Officer sent the MPVs one of which got caught in the IED blast”, said the Director General of CRPF, RR Bhatnagar.

Asked if the SP Sukma should have paid heed to the caution advised by his force, Bhatnagar said, “There is no point in conducting these post mortems. We have to look ahead”.

When contacted, the Sukma SP Meena declined to comment.




MAOIST MENACE: Fewer attacks, fewer Maoist casualties but MORE SECURITY MEN killed. This and more that the govt won’t tell you.

Few paid attention to Ginugu Narsimha Reddy alias Jampanna (55) when he began as a technician in Hyderabad. But in the last week of December 2017, when he returned to the city with his 37-year-old wife Hinge Anitha, taking note was a posse of beaming Telangana policemen and excited journalists. Reddy, after all, had lived his life as a celebrated operative of the outlawed Communist Party of India (CPI) (Maoist). Joining the group in 1984, he started as a dalam commander and grew to the coveted position as a member of the apex, decision-making body, the Central Committee (CC).

2017, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) saw the decline in instances and intensity of Maoist violence. Recently, Home Minister Rajnath Singh pointed out “overall reduction of 21% in violence incidents over corresponding period of last year”.

But that is just one side.

While the attacks on security personnel may have reduced, Maoists have been able to carry out more intense attacks leading to increased casualties for security forces. At the same time they have been able to reduce their own casualties. Data accessed using the Right To Information (RTI) Act 2005:

Instances of security forces being attacked by Maoists

·         2016 – 111

·         2017 – 73

Killing of security force personnel by Maoists

·         2016 – 65

·         2017 – 72

Killing of Maoists by security forces

·         2016 – 222

·         2017 – 109

Surrenders by Maoist cadre

·         2014 – 623

·         2015 – 565

·         2016 – 1420 (1190 from Chhattisgarh alone)

·         2017 – 666 (till December 15, 2017)

Yet, as this report in THE HINDU (http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/chhattisgarhs-fake-maoist-surrenders/article20547957.ece) claims, nearly 90 per cent of the surrenders  out of Chhattisgarh last year were fake.

Violence involving Maoists

·         2014 – 1091

·         2015 – 1089

·         2016 – 1048

·         2017 (till Nov 30, 2017) – 813

In this period, Maoists killed more than 212 security personnel and 616 civilians.

The Maoist movement was born before India became independent and it has survived by choosing when and where to fight. So it is hardly a surprise when the MHA notes that the Maoist have made efforts in “Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border areas, establishment of a base at the tri-junction of Kerala-Karnataka-Tamil Nadu and formation of a new Zone at the tri-junction of Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh”.

In trouble-prone areas, police is often the first and only significant arm of the administration. Yet instead of achieving the ideal average ratio of one policeman for every 547 citizens, India continues to field one policeman for every 720 citizens.

On ground, most admit that while Maoists can still pull a surprise, there exists better domination and coordination between various governmental agencies. “Instead of camping in villages and seeking food from the locals, Maoists are now camping in jungles and through emissaries are arranging their food since they fear locals will alert us,” said an officer posted in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. In Odisha, “Barring the Malkangiri-Nuapada belt, they are nowhere”, said another officer.

Another theme emerging from the ground is the militarisation of Maoist insurgency. “Earlier their People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) was a significant component of the Maoist organisation, now increasingly it is becoming the only component. This works well for us as we are able to win over the people with sops and facilities,” said a source. In contrast, in addition to ramping up security, the government is avowedly constructing roads, mobile towers, schools, skill development centres, post offices, banks and ATMs to present its humane face.

The aging leadership and the lack of an effective second-rung in the CPI Maoist are bright spots when seen from the government’s viewpoint. Sources point to Jampanna and many before him to say, “several senior Maoist leaders are in touch with their families and through them with the police in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. We can expect big surrenders in 2018”. “The average age of their leadership is beyond 55 now. These people began in their 30s and 40s. Health is increasingly a concern for them. If you look at the Maoist hierarchy, they have no next generation to takeover”, said K Durga Prasad, former Direcor General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer with rich experience in tackling the Maoist menace agreed.

So what should the approach be in 2018?

“The government should consciously work to prevent another lease of life to the Maoists. Fake surrenders, fake encounters, death of civilians by security personnel, or large-scale displacement of people is what helps Maoists expand their reach. We have to be careful,” said a source.

India’s record on this front is far from inspiring. In his book, ‘Blood Red River’, Rohit Prasad quotes from a study on displacement of native population in India. In it, he states how between 1947-2000, nearly 60 million were displaced – of which only 1/3rd have been rehabilitated. Among the displaced, nearly 40 per cent are tribals.

General election of 2019 aside, states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand which are at the heart of the Maoist insurgency are barely 24 months away from local elections. As a result, in addition to security-related efforts, political and developmental activities too are picking up pace.

In the battle for the heart of India, 2018 is not just another year.

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED AT THE DAILYO PORTAL: https://www.dailyo.in/politics/maoists-left-wing-extremists-india-naxal-surrender-tribals/story/1/21498.html

FIGHTING INSURGENCY: Pushing men as leaders stay behind, that is what is taking place in Maharashtra Police on a bloody frontline called Gadchiroli

Article appeared in MAIL TODAY on August  7, 2015
Article appeared in MAIL TODAY on August 7, 2015


No full-time Inspector General of Police (Anti Naxal Operations) since February 2014
No full-time Deputy Inspector General for Gadchiroli range since February 2014
No full-time Superintendent of Police (SP) Special Action Group (SAG) since June 2015
Chair of the Principal of training institute, UOTC was vacant from December 2014 till middle of July 2015. Has been filled only recently.  

After considerable gains against the Maoist insurgents over the last couple of years, things in Maharashtra may be on the verge of slipping. Critical posts, dealing with the anti-Maoist struggle, in the state police remain vacant for over a year leading to a leadership vacuum. Positions like Inspector General of Police (Anti Naxal Operations), Deputy Inspector General of Police (Gadchiroli range) and Superintendent of Police Special Action Group (SAG) have no full time officers assigned. In addition, even the post of Principal of the Unconventional Operations Training Centre (UOTC) where Maharashtra Police personnel train before induction into insurgency-affected regions has only been filled recently after remaining vacant for months on end.

These charges are being held on additional charge basis by officers holding positions in the Nagpur police administration which is headquartered 170km away from the affected Gadchiroli.

Those on the ground say this lack of leadership is demoralizing and may end up providing to the Maoists a breathing space. What is important to note is that the Maoists have stated their aim is to now ‘preserve’ their battle against the might of India which has been unleashed against them since the second half of the last decade. Interestingly, while the officers at the top are missing, other officers and men at the lower level are adequately staffed.

The state police is directly under the control of the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who holds the Home portfolio. A response was sought from the CM but none was received.

Recently released Union Home Ministry data recorded 27 ‘incidents’ till June 30 this year in which eight civilians and two security personnel were killed. Also 15 Maoists were arrested however not one Maoist insurgent was killed by the police, an admission which many believe is an indication of the dismal state of affairs. “I don’t particularly agree with that death figure being an indicator however, this is a serious development which needs to be addressed,” said an officer.

When asked, Maharashtra’s Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjeev Dayal said, “Yes, I agree they shouldn’t be left vacant. We are actively considering filling them up and it will be done soon.” When asked for a cause and the impact on the ground situation, he replied, “Things are going very well in Gadchiroli.” However, his officers did not share the optimism. “The reluctance among police officers to go to such places is not new. For nearly a year these posts are vacant. DGP can do what he wants and officers who don’t wish to go simply seek assistance from politicians,” said an officer. In Gadchiroli, the local Superintendent of Police, Sandip Patil said, “My seniors who hold additional charges are experienced officers who have worked here and thus we have a perfectly fine system,” he said. However an officer with the experience of having served in Gadchiroli questioned this optimism, he said, “If these posts are so insignificant that all is working well in their not being filled, the govt might as well abolish them and save revenue.”

Since the late 1980s, when the erstwhile People’s War migrated out of united Andhra Pradesh in search of safer pastures, the contiguous forest cover provided by Gadchiroli, Gondia and Chandrapur districts of Maharashtra was an attraction for the insurgents. Traditionally, Maoists have used these areas for rest, recuperation and recruitment as well as to launch attack in the neighbouring Bastar region in south Chhattisgarh. Seldom have they waged their battle with the intensity matching that in Chhattisgarh or Andhra Pradesh.

Maharastra’s two districts of Gadchiroli and Gondia, at its eastern most fringe, rank among the affected districts. While the former has been a long-standing history, the latter is relatively quieter.


Lapsing into complacency is what it is. What the situation there may have improved but it can’t be called peaceful. Plus it borders the most volatile and unstable region in Chhattisgarh. You can not let your guard down. Fact that no officer is posted or wants to be posted tells you this area is far from stable. If seniors are absent, resentment will creep in. Men will say we are being pushed in and over time operational decline will set in.


34 security personnel killed
40 Maoists killed
62 civilians killed since
149 Maoists arrested

NICE, SOLID primer on BSF’s growing Air Wing


Induction of Two New Mi – 17 V5 in BSF

The two new advanced Mi – 17 V5 have landed in India and to be inducted into the BSF Air Wing, which are tasked to carry air support missions for BSF troops along the borders and in the hinterland for Anti-Naxal operations.

The Russian made Mi- 17 V5 choppers will boost the flying capability of BSF that are deployed for a variety of Internal Security tasks in some of the most arduous and inhospitable conditions at numerous locations.

The two new Mi – 17 V5 initially based at the BSF Hanger at Safdarjung Airport are to be inducted into the fleet by Hon’ble Union Home Minister of India Shri Rajnath Singh on 09th April 2015 at 1500 Hrs at Safdarjung Airport, BSF Air Wing, Hanger No 1, New Delhi.

These two Mi – 17 V5 are armed with the latest avionics and night flying capabilities which has been a long-time requirement for Border Security Force which is undertaking operations in Naxal violence affected zones.

Introduction of BSF Air Wing

BSF Air Wing has a fleet of 04 Fixed Wing (FW) aircrafts(Embraer-01, Avro- 02 and SKA B-200- 01) and 13 helicopters operating under aegis of MHA. BSF Air Wing is involved in providing required Air support to the nation for addressing threats to the internal security since 1969. As of date Rotary Wing fleet consists of 06 MI-17 1V, 06 ALH (Dhruv) and 01 Cheetah helicopter. These  helicopters are operating from BSF Air bases established at Ranchi, Raipur, Agartala, Srinagar  and Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi.

Medium lift helicopters (MLH) MI-17 1V fleet was inducted in BSF in 2003. These helicopters were procured under J & K action plan. Earlier this fleet was mainly used for air logistics and communication tasks. However, in the last few years their employment and the scope of their utilization has extended to include disaster relief, Special Heliborne Operations (SHBO) for the National Security Guards, Anti-Naxal Operations, Counter Insurgency Operations, Air-maintenance of the remote Border Out Posts, Casualty Evacuation etc. The versatility of the MI-17 platform has opened up new avenues for additional tasks like reconnaissance, security, urban policing, VIP movement etc.  There is an expanding operational requirement to augment our capacity of medium lift helicopters due to the dynamic nature of national security threats,. The additional role and tasks demanded for expansion and modernization of the existing medium lift helicopter fleet of BSF Air Wing.

To meet the increased role and tasks that MHA has mandated on BSF Air Wing, procurement of eight Mi 17 V5 helicopters was dovetailed with the demand of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Aviation Research centre (ARC) and the procurement was centrally handled by MoD with Rosoboronexport, Russia.

Our Govt’s operational directive, enunciated the security environment and likely internal security scenario in the country which is to be largely addressed by CAPF. The Govt. recognizes the increasing use of air dimension in addressing the internal security challenges in the country. Air assets provide the most effective assistance to the internal security challenges like CI Operations, IS Duties, Anti-Naxal Operations, Disaster Management, Elections, Urban Policing, specialized anti-terrorist tasks.

The Govt’s aim is to provide short, swift and sharp air-lift capabilities to the troops of CAPFs and assist in ground operations. Any ground movement of troops is time consuming, vulnerable to IEDs  and ambushes by the Naxals. The security forces are required to operate from deep inside the inaccessible terrain in these areas with continuous shifting of their operation sites. Therefore, the safest and quickest passage can only be attained by creating Air-bridge with the help of MLH between the CAPF bases. Hence Govt has decided to deploy these MI 17 V5 helicopters in Delhi, Raipur and Ranchi airbases.

Utility of MI 17 V5 is also very much relevant in following operational scenario.

(i)        Induction & de-induction of troops.

(ii)       Air support for ground operations.

(iii)     Casualty evacuation.

(iv)      Disaster Management and NBC scenario.

(v)       Specialist Counter-insurgency operations.

(vi)      Internal Security Duties, Election Duties, etc.

(vii)    Specialized anti-terrorist tasks including training especially NSG.

(viii)   Performing tasks like Shifting of detainees, carrying of arms, ammunition and other materials.

The MI-17 V5 helicopters are most suitable for the above requirements due to following reasons:-

(i)        Large carrying capacity (approx 36 troops at a time).

(ii)       Suitable for Armour plating to bear Naxal fire.

(iii)     Capable of undertaking fire fighting ops (can carry water bucket of 5000 litres.

(iv)      Capable of operating in nuclear disaster by using specialized lead plates.

(v)       Capable of operating in all areas upto 200 kms radius.

(vi)      Capability of converting into air- ambulance.

(vii)    Suitable for all required tasks.

Out of total 08 Mi 17 V5 helicopters, first batch of 02 Mi 17 V5 helicopters have arrived & are being inducted in BSF Air Wing. Rest of the 06 helicopters will be inducted in two phases during the current financial year (2015-16).  The next batch of 3 hepters are planned to be arrived in May & balance 03 hepters in Sep 2015.

Necessity of Air Wing in BSF

At many places, the deployment of BSF is such that for most of the year the road link is totally cut off. For any emergencies arising in these areas and for augmenting the administrative support to these places, the dependence on the Air route was felt. To overcome these problems. It was felt the need of BSF Air Wing and this Air Wing was established with one Queen Air in 1969. Though the initial operations were limited. With the increase in the use of Queen Air, the need was felt for increasing the number and types of Aircrafts in the inventory of BSF.

Thereby two Dakotas were purchased in 1970s. These Dakotas were kept in service till 1980 and then as the Dakotas were replaced by AVROs. In the year 1982, Super King B200 Aircraft was added to the inventory of BSF, to increase the air capabilities of BSF.

During that period BSF air fleet was utilized to air support to just a single force i.e. BSF. The scope of duties was extended to all other CAPFs and Air Wing was re-designated as a common pool of CAPFs.

In the year 1993 so as to augment the operations in the Arid regions of Rajasthan Ranns of Gujrat, Chetak helicopter was inducted.



S.No Year Type of Aircraft &     Nos Base
1. 1969 Queen Air C-80            : 01 New Delhi
2. 1969 MI – 4 H/c                    : 04 O&M – IAF
3. 1972 Dakota                                      : 01 New Delhi
4. 1974 Dakota                          : 04 New Delhi
5. 1982 SKA B-200                   : 01 New Delhi
6. 1982 HS – 748 Avro                         : 01 New Delhi
7. 1984 HS – 748 Avro                         : 01 New Delhi
8. 1987 SKA B-200                   : 01 New Delhi
9. 1990 Chetak H/c                    : 01 Jodhpur
10. 1991 HS – 748 Avro                         : 03 New Delhi
11. 1994 SKA B – 200                : 01 New Delhi
12. 1997 Cheetah H/c                  : 01 J & K
13. 2003 Mi – 17 1V H/c             : 06 New Delhi
14. 2005 Embraer 135 BJ            : 01 New Delhi
15. 2009 ALH                             : 08 Raipur, Ranchi, AGartala
16. 2015 Mi – 17 V5 H/c             02: 08 Raipur, Ranchi, Sringar, Delhi


 (Text by Public Relations Officer, BSF)


CRPF IN TURMOIL: Juniors in rage against top brass complain to Home Ministry. Veteran says time to introspect

Article appeared in the Sunday Mail Today of April 20, 2014
Article appeared in the Sunday Mail Today of April 20, 2014

There is anger brewing. And the recent loss of 25 men in a little over a month has little to do with it.  Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), India’s internal security backbone, a ready response to challenges posed by insurgencies, law and order situations or election duties, is in a bad shape.

In a rare and dramatic move aimed at opposing a controversial new policy, seen by many as a personal initiative of the Director General (DG) himself, a section of CRPF cadre officers have knocked the doors of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). So severe were the contents of the complaint that a surprised and taken aback MHA immediately stepped in, stalled the policy implementation and set up a committee to examine the same. Sources in the MHA indicated that the CRPF top brass had kept them in the dark over ‘such a far reaching proposal’. A copy of this 11-page letter addressed to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and titled ‘Damaging the basic structure of the CRPF’ was accessed by this correspondent.



—————————————————————————————————————————————–Aimed at providing higher level of satisfaction to its Non Gazetted Force Personnel (NGOs) which comprise Inspectors and below, including constables as well as improve command and control, this policy was formulated last year. After discussions, on January 31, 2014, the process was initiated wherein NGOs were given an option to indicate and opt to work in the region of his/her preference. “It was opined that this will go a long way in reducing the stress being felt by the constabulary due to long absence from their family, adverse environment and hazardous duties,” said the policy document.

Four ‘Zones’ were created and the area divided and based on feedback received from the NGOs, mass transfers were to take place after the conclusion of General Elections 2014. It was claimed that the financial implication emerging out of this policy had been already analysed and that the policy was ‘financially neutral.’

Contradicting this policy, the unsigned letter which ends with a scribbled word above ‘A CRPF officer’, goes on to lambast the top brass for its ‘whimsical’ attitude in interfering with the organisational structure of the force. The document is divided into categories like ‘North East aspect’, ‘Administrative Matters’, ‘Tac Hqs’, ‘Attachments’, ‘Budget Matters’, ‘Operational Aspect’, ‘Training’, ‘Command and Control’, ‘Functional Matters’, ‘Specialised Units’, ‘National Character’, ‘Jawans’ Point of View’, ‘Other Matters’ and ‘Conclusion’.

Clearly, the MHA saw some merit in the letter and decided to step in, bringing the effort of the DG CRPF to a naught.

Said a source, “IPS officers come on deputation and as a result have limited exposure to the force. Instead of taking down the force and order a complete revamp, they should use their positions and improve our work conditions. It isn’t that all the problems have been solved.”

“The majority of the force, which comprises the NGOs were happy about it. The only ones complaining were some disgruntled CRPF cadre officers who, as a result of this policy, had to move out of their comfort zones and toil like the men have been doing for all these years,” said Dilip Trivedi, DG CRPF. When asked about the conflict within the force when his officers chose to bypass him and approach the MHA, he said, “It should not have happened. But we will clarify our stand to this committee and hope for the best. I am confident.”

Article appeared in the Sunday Mail Today of April 20, 2014
Article appeared in the Sunday Mail Today of April 20, 2014

Armoured vehicles get the short shrift

The biggest killer, in the Maoist-insurgency is the Improvised Explosive Device (IED). As on date, the only mobile protection against the IED is the Mine Protected Vehicle (MPV).

As per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the CRPF has been authorised a total of 534 MPVs of which the force has 106, at present. This gap notwithstanding, the top brass has been unable to get its act together for years, on the road ahead.

A source pointed out, “In a meeting chaired by the DG CRPF last month, it was decided to surrender whatever limited MPVs were in hand. It came as a shock because it showed how disconnected the top brass is from the field commanders, who actually have written letters seeking more such vehicles.”

When asked, Trivedi admitted to this and added, “There were incidents, a while ago, in which the MPVs did not live up to what was expected of them. That caused a decline in interest. However, recently our ground formations have informed us that they need these vehicles. So we are re-framing the Qualitative Requirements (QRs) now,” he said.

It was in October 2009 that the MHA had first asked the then DG of CRPF if the force wanted to re-frame the MPV QRs.

Lessons from Vietnam War

According to a senior Home Ministry official, the CRPF which is literally fighting a ‘war’ against the Maoist insurgents needs to take some lessons from the Americans who were fighting a similarly unknown enemy in Vietnam.

The CRPF did away with the Annual Change Over (ACO) policy where entire battalions would move from location to location and replaced it with piecemeal transfer policy of personnel. Quoting from the much-acclaimed book ‘Crisis in Command’, the official said, “This book says, ‘Had the replacement system used in Vietnam been different, rotating unit replacements instead of individual replacements, cohesion might have been greater…we suspect that the common experience of units training together, shipment overseas, common battle experiences with known and familiar officers and NCO’s all might have functioned collectively to prevent, or at least, minimise the emergence of those factors which we have associated with disintegration,’ and its so relevant to CRPF’s situation.”

Continuing confusion hits the CRPF

From 1939 till 2011, the CRPF was following the Annual Change Over (ACO) policy where 1/3rd of all the battalions would physically move and relocate annually. This would ensure that those in hard areas get better postings and vice versa. This is a system which is still followed by the Indian Army as well as the Border Security Force (BSF). This was, however, discontinued from January 12 2010 after a ‘detailed review’.

Transfer policy, replacing the ACO, was issued on October 24, 2011. Under this policy, there was to take place annual transfer of up to 25 percent of the rank and file from battalions which had completed four years.

On January 31, 2014, CRPF issued a ‘Standing Order No. 01/2014’ in which it was mentioned, ‘transfer policy could not be implemented uniformly’. It was further stated that the transfer policy caused ‘dissatisfaction and was not implementable’, paving the way for the re-organisation policy which has now been challenged.

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/exclusive-worlds-largest-paramilitary-crpf-splits-over-new-transfer-policy/1/356641.html

Begin the world’s largest democratic exercise by tackling the insurgency-hit areas first, Election Commission of India told by Home Ministry

MHA's analysis to EC at a glance
MHA’s analysis to EC at a glance

Handle the toughest areas first – that is the message sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) in a security blueprint prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and submitted last month. This strategy, a copy of which is available with this newspaper, spans across nine states, 79 districts and flags 33 among them as the most sensitive ones. Not just that, a troop surge to the extent of over 2 lakh paramilitary personnel is also under proposed to be kept ready for the upcoming general elections, it was learnt.

These nine states are all, to varying degrees, affected by the Maoist menace leaving the traditional, insurgency-hit areas of Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern (NE) states behind.

“Yes, the EC has been advised that based on past experience and ground conditions, the right way to tackle this menace is to hold the first phase in these areas when the forces are fresh,” said a top official privy to this communication. The EC is yet to take a call on it. “Consultations are still going on,” said the official.

The forces are believed to have pointed to the difficulties faced during induction and de-induction of troops. Issues pertaining to availability of trains for force movement, moon calendar, transfer and postings were raised in front of the EC authorities. “It was pointed out that the early part of April or May is the most suitable from these angles. Of the two, it was told to them that April was the most preferred month,” said another official.

Report appeared in the MAIL TODAY newspaper on Feb 21, 2014
Report appeared in the MAIL TODAY newspaper on Feb 21, 2014

Collating data from the year gone by as well as based on the feedback by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), especially with regards to the recently-concluded assembly elections in the affected Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, the MHA has divided the affected states and their districts into three separate categories, A – indicating the most affected to C – indicating least affected of the lot.

In terms of boots on the ground, based on feedback from all the paramilitary organisations, a total of over 2 lakh troops will be deployed from the CRPF, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). The CRPF, as such the lead internal security provider in the country, will be contributing the most number of troops. Director General of the CRPF, Dilip Trivedi, when asked, “This will help us. Forces are fresh and it will be to our advantage if we have them in these difficult situations facing the Maoists first rather than have a tired force which has conducted multiple elections and is then posted there to face these insurgents.”

Dr Ajai Sahni, Executive Director, Institute of Conflict Management (ICM) too welcomed this piece of advice. “Elections see the greatest operational penetration by the security forces since election officers need to be taken to the remote most corners. Thus that presence will have a detrimental impact on the Maoist presence there,” he said. He added, “This will be a very successful move. We saw that when we did the same in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, the polling percentages were above 70 percent in some areas, way beyond many peaceful areas.”