Monday, April 19, 2010

Ambushed personnel were trained in counter-insurgency, says CRPF

K. Srinivas Reddy

“The CRPF company had been most negligent in choosing the camp site, which was being carefully observed by Maoists”
CRPF not trained on a par with Andhra Pradesh's Greyhounds

‘Slain company had been most negligent in choosing the camp site'

HYDERABAD: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) discounted the criticism that drafting personnel untrained in jungle warfare led to the massacre of 76 of its men at Chintalnar in Bastar on April 6. It pointed out that its forces were trained in the basics of counter-insurgency operations, though not on par with the Greyhounds raised by Andhra Pradesh.

Rebuts criticism

Rebutting all-round criticism on untrained personnel becoming sitting ducks, the paramilitary force informed the Centre that Assistant Commandant B.L. Meena, who led the decimated Alpha Company, had earlier participated in two major rescue operations when the CRPF personnel were ambushed by Maoists in the same area.

Sources said that it was the Golf Company of the 62nd battalion, commanded by Assistant Commandant Meena that countered a People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) ambush at Paidiguda on a 40-member CRPF team on April 8, 2009. While the rebels managed to kill a deputy commandant and 11 jawans, Assistant Commandant Meena successfully fought Maoists to rescue others.

On September 9, 2009, he rushed to help the CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) commandos who were ambushed and surrounded by the PLGA forces at Chintagupha. Reinforcements led by him fought bravely and saved the CoBRA forces. In this incident, six commandos were killed by Maoists.

LUP mistake

However, in the April 6 massacre, something had certainly gone wrong. The company led by Meena appeared to have made the dangerous mistake of not choosing its camp site, called LUP or Lying Up Position, carefully. A LUP is the tactical place where an operating unit of the security forces stops for a brief period and the location is chosen in a way that the forces are ready for an ambush or a raid after alerts from sentries posted on high features.

The CRPF company, sources said, had been most negligent in choosing the camp site, which was being carefully observed by Maoist rebels who fired volleys of shots from

Light Machine Guns and assault rifles. The company, security analysts say, could have been negligent as they were sent on an Area Domination (AD) operation and not an operation based on intelligence input.

Interestingly, more than 35 companies of the CRPF and the local police had participated in the four-day AD operation in Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur and Jagdalpur districts. The forces were briefed to move on the peripheries of the naxal strongholds.

Purpose of operation

The purpose of the AD operation was to sanitise the area ahead of the launch of the Tactical Counter-Offensive Campaign by Maoists, which the Chhattisgarh police believed would commence from April 15.

With this view, the CRPF assisted operations were primarily meant to secure the proximate areas around the base camps, since most attacks on security forces took place nearby.

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