Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cops rue casualty of lessons forgotten

SUDHIR KUMAR MISHRA
Ranchi, Oct. 10: Most senior police officers, especially those holding key positions in Naxalite-affected areas, admit they have forgotten the lessons they were taught during the training programme.
They strongly hold that the set norms were being flouted while carrying out raids, which often results in Chatra-like incidents.
The officials argued that the guidelines are blatantly flouted for quick results. In Baniadih too, they said, only one person should have been entrusted the task of opening the box and other policemen ought to have given cover fire from a considerable distance.

“Even IPS officers have forgotten the lessons they were taught during their training programme. The victims did not take the necessary precautions that is mandatory during such operations. This was because they probably wanted instant results,” said a senior police officer looking after the training programmes.

He said the lessons have been virtually abandoned in the police force in Jharkhand. Most officials are reluctant to join the programmes. “It is necessary that there should be regular training for all categories of police officials after a gap of six to eight months,” he said.

The officer said lack of coordination between the central paramilitary forces, bomb disposal squads and the local police, too, was responsible for such incidents. “Here too, the CRPF assistant commandant reportedly insisted that the box did not contain explosives and that he had opened several such boxes in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states in the past,” he said.

A police superintendent recalled that once he had “positioned” his boys before raiding an extremist hideout. But his boss insisted that instead of wasting time, the force should march straight to the rebel den. He started climbing up the hills and the others, including the superintendent, were forced to follow. After covering a small distance, there was a big explosion which claimed the life of the village chowkidar, who was guiding the squad.

“After every incident like Baniadih, the entire force receives a setback and jawans get demotivated. It is the ordinary jawans who are at the forefront everywhere. Repetition of such incidents makes them defiant and on occasions they even refuse to obey their bosses. Regular training for the entire police force is, therefore, very necessary,” said an officer of the rank of inspector-general.

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