Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Govt mulls anti-Naxal force

Shishir Gupta Posted online: Tuesday , Apr 27, 2010 at 0807 hrs

New Delhi : Following the massacre of 76 security personnel — 75 of whom belonged to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) — in Dantewada earlier this month, the government is seriously considering raising a dedicated anti-Naxal force, trained to take on Left Wing extremists in the jungles of central India.
K Vijay Kumar, chief of the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force which eliminated sandalwood smuggler Veerappan in October 2004, is among the frontrunners to lead the new force. Vijay Kumar is currently Director of the National Police Academy in Hyderabad.

Top government sources told The Indian Express that Home Minister P Chidambaram is currently weighing the options of either bifurcating the 210 battalion-strong CRPF with one wing concentrating on anti-Naxal operations, or raising a new force on the lines of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in Jammu and Kashmir.

The general perception is that the CRPF does not at the moment have the training or cohesion needed to battle Maoist rebels, and its competence in maintaining law and order during elections is not enough to match up to the asymmetrical warfare methods of the Naxals.

Even in the Valley, the CRPF acts in aid of civilian authorities in towns and cities, while the RR and the Army operate against militants in the hinterland.

It is understood that the matter has been discussed by the CRPF brass, and figured in the meeting between Chidambaram and Army Chief General V K Singh after the Dantewada massacre.

Sources said the Home Ministry has also discussed with Army Headquarters the possibility of some RR units being moved out of Jammu and Kashmir to fight Naxals in central India.

Army Headquarters is learnt to have indicated that it does not want to disturb the counter-insurgency grid in Jammu and Kashmir by moving out RR units, and is in favour of raising additional RR units dedicated to fighting Left Wing extremists. At the same time, the Army has offered all help in anti-Naxal operations by training CRPF personnel after the proposed bifurcation of the force.

Command failure, says Dantewada report

NEW DELHI: Former BSF DG E N Rammohan on Monday submitted the report of a probe conducted by him into the recent Naxal attack in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, to Union Home Secretary G K Pillai. Pillai later handed over the report to Home Minister P Chidambaram. The report is learnt to have held “command and control” failure and violation of SOPs responsible for the deaths. ENS

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