Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Anti-Naxal ops: Centre pushes for 6,000 CRPF personnel

13 Apr 2010, 1049 hrs IST,Vishwa Mohan,TNN

NEW DELHI: Centre is pressing more paramilitary troops — 6,000 CRPF personnel — to ramp up anti-Naxal operations but will let the state police take “lead” in the operations against the extremists.

In a significant re-configuration of its approach in the wake of the Dantewada massacre, the home ministry is going to tell the state governments that the role of paramilitary forces will be limited to “assist” the state forces. This may not be different from what was, in any case, supposed to be the case on paper.

In reality, however, it is the central forces who became the vanguard of the anti-Maoist operations, with poorly-trained state forces happily taking the back seat. The change has been necessitated because of the realisation that the political damage the Maoists inflicted when they ambushed the CRPF patrol could have been less if Centre had not taken the ownership of the offensive.

Tactically too, it is being felt that greater involvement of state police was an imperative because of their familiarity with the terrain as well as better ability to gather intelligence from local communities. The issue of involving states pro-actively was discussed in detail as part of post-mortem exercise of the Dantewada incident in a high-level meeting, chaired by home secretary G K Pillai here on Monday.

The Centre and paramilitary forces have often complained, and with considerable merit, that the state governments are not always ready to supplement their efforts. Officials in the home ministry said the Dantewada incident was indicative of the states’ approach where they left disproportionate share of the dangerous assignment for the central forces.

Although the decision in Dantewada episode was taken jointly with the Chhattisgarh police, the state — contrary to earlier home ministry’s advisory — did not send its own trained cops with them except one head constable when they set off in the direction of Tongpalli on April 6. “Such an approach will not be accepted any more. States will have to put in adequate number of personnel for both operations as well as area domination exercise,” said a senior official.

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