Thursday, April 08, 2010

Shocking details on the Plight of CRPF Soldiers

Indian Army chief VK Singh blamed the recent massacre of the CRPF officials on 'internal deficiencies', stating that the soldiers were not trained properly.

"This is a matter of concern... in what has happened, there were some internal deficiencies, which may be in their training or some other things and they (paramilitary forces) are thinking over it," he said. "The 62nd Battalion of the CRPF that was attacked was not trained by the Army. Our role is till now limited to training the personnel and giving advice to the government. Beyond that, our involvement is bound to have some implications…but that will be decided by the Home Ministry. The political leadership of the country has to decide whether the army is to be deployed for anti-Maoist operations. They will take a decision after considering so many aspects. It is difficult for me to say whether the army would be deployed or not."

The Indian Army has trained around 40,000 troops to tackle the Naxal menace. However, according to Singh, unlike in the Army, complete units of personnel do not come in for training and as a result not all troopers are trained fully. "At times, we don't get homogeneous entities for training. It means that if it is a Company (for training), it does not come to us as a Company (together), which happens in the Army," he said.

The other shocker is that the soldiers that are deployed to counter the Maoists are on an empty stomach, without adequate drinking water and medical facilities. The CRPF men can defend themselves against Maoist attacks but not against malaria and poisonous reptiles. "We are also fighting in the anti-insurgency mode. Army soldiers get dry fruits and other eatables in sufficient quantity during operations. We have to fight on empty stomach and dry throats. Our jawans need food that matches the task at hand," said a CRPF jawan. "Malaria is one of the biggest challenges of living here. People frequently fall sick. Some of us have to proceed on sick leave. What has made matters worse is the non-availability of medical facilities."

"Forget qualified doctors, there are not even decent medicine shops. The local doctors would prescribe the same regular medicines for disease. The nearest hospitals are some distance away. This is not only our plight but of everyone posted or deployed in remote jungle camps. At night, you are not sure of what may bite or sting you. Forget patrolling, one is not safe even in camps. If a snake or something as poisonous bites a victim, there may not be a chance to save him. Water is a big problem here. We have no clue how to manage in this place where we have to work under constant threat and high daytime temperatures." he added.

"There is no surety we would get drinking water. Sometimes we have to drink water from the same pond that animals use to quench their thirst. The unhygienic living conditions are leading to diseases and many personnel are falling sick," a constable said, "There is no pat on the back for a good job done but always some kind of harassment in the name of discipline."

On Tuesday as many as 76 CRPF security personnel were massacred as the Leftwing guerrillas attacked in the dense forests of Chhattisgarh in the dense forests of Chhattisgarh, about 450 km away from Raipur. Only seven men survived the brutal and well-planned attack and one helicopter which was sent to rescue the men came under fire. The attack was the worst ever since March 2007 when the rebels slaughtered 55 policemen. More than 5,000 policemen, militants and poor villagers have died on account of Maoist attacks in India over the past few years. A crackdown is under way and 70,000 paramilitary troopers and policemen have been deployed.

Chhattisgarh's former security advisor K.P.S. Gill ridiculed the anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh and dubbed it as 'flawed'. All the CRPF personnel reportedly violated the basic principles of anti-insurgency drive by moving in large numbers, providing an easy target for the attackers. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules Chhattisgarh, called for an "all-out offensive" against the Maoists.

Hassan: Villagers are proud of Shivanna’s sacrifice

Hassan April 9: ‘He will not come back and he will not be with us,’ the whole village regrets. Otherwise, not only his family but the entire village is proud of this martyr’s sacrifice to the nation.

This is what the people of Chikkabasavanahalli in Hassan district say about C S Shivanna who laid down his life in the naxal attack in Muktana forest in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

“Our village is very small. Even then there are 24 people who have served the nation and we are proud of this. Out of this seven have returned after serving the nation, another 15 are serving in security forces. Shivappa was one among them,” they said. In the last 35 years he is the only one to lose life while in service”.
Attempts were made to enroll Shivappa’s nephew into the Army, last year. However, he could not get a chance as he was three months short of the stipulated age limit. This year he had made arrangements to appear for the exam. Shivappa was the motivator for him, family sources said.

The people in the village are consoling wife Nethravathi, son Chetan, his two brothers and three sisters. Shivanna had come during Dasara festival. He would have completed 20 years of military service in a year.

Last visit

He had the darshan of Hasanamba and had said that he would return during Yugadi festival. But due to the wedding of his brother’s daughter, he had postponed his visit to May.

Earlier, he was wounded in Kargil war and he stayed in the village to recover. Shivanna who had fought death then, now became a victim to Maoists’ landmine attack, said his brother Yogeesh.

Shivanna had served the country in Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Assam. He was transferred to Chaattisgarh to fight the insurgents last month where he met his end. The district administration has made arrangements to give him a state funeral with a 21 gun salute.


CPI(Maoist) own responsibility for Dantewada

Omer Farooq | Hyderabad

The CPI Maoist has owned the responsibility for the massacre of 76 personnel of Central Reserve Police Force in Dantewada district of Chattisgarh two days ago. In its first comment on the unprecedented attack, the organization admitted that it also lost 8 of its members including two section commanders and two deputy commander and four members.

Godsa Usendi, spokesman of Dandakaranya Special Zone Committee said in a statement that about two companies of People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) (about three hundred men) participated in the operation.

He said that PLGA snatched away 75 weapons of the CRPF including 21 AK-47, 7 SLRs, 6 Light Machine guns, one stengun and one 2 inch mortar. Those killed include 15 commandos of Cobras force.

“We meticulously planned the operation for 5-6 months after observing the movement and other activities of the security forces”, he said.

Gudsa Usendi said that the operation had three objectives of stopping the Operation Green Hunt, taking revenge of killing the top leaders like Patel Sudhakar Reddy and Shakhamuri Appa Rao in fake encounters and saving the people of Bastar region.

He alleged that since the CRPF and COBRAS battalion was deployed in the region, Bastar was in the grip of terror as they were killing innocent people, burning villages, raping women and displacing lakhs of people. He alleged that 125 people were killed in different villages of Dantewada and Bijapur districts.

He rejected the statement of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram that there was no Operation Green Hunt going on. “this is the biggest joke of 21st century because it is written on the vehicles of forces which move in the region”.

He warned that if operation was not stopped, Maoists will carry out more such attacks.
He said that this year was the hundredth anniversary of “Bhumkaal Vidroh” against the British in 1910 in the leadership of Gundadhur and Maoists were celebrating the event in the region.

Maoists slit throats of 2 cops, lost 8 of their own in attack

Apurva Posted online: Friday , Apr 09, 2010 at 0928 hrs

New Delhi : Underlining the brutality of the Naxal attack in Dantewada, it has now emerged that two of the securitymen — at least one of them from the CRPF — had their throats slit by their attackers. Over 35 of the 76 killed had died of bullet injuries.

And, according to telephone intercepts, the Maoists could have lost as many as eight of their cadres in the encounter.

These intercepts by intelligence agencies have established the identities of the eight People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) members killed in the ambush: Rukmati, Vidyal, Singhal, Waghal, Raju, Ratan, Mangu and Ramal.

While there was intelligence input from Central agencies on the presence of a large number of Naxals in some parts of the forest, which prompted the operation in the first place, sources said the role played by a “rogue informant” who possibly “misled” the CRPF posse and got them trapped is also being examined.

“The Naxals know that a security force will not use the same route to get back to its base. However, the fact that they mined the route this party had taken while going into the forests indicates that they were reasonably sure the party will come back the same way. The local informer apparently planted information that led this team to take the same route while returning,” a government source said.

“This local source apparently enjoyed full faith of the securitymen who failed to see through the plan. At the time they were cornered, the CRPF party had been trapped in a Y-shaped area, from where there was no escape route,” the source added.

Meanwhile, the Centre today appointed retired IPS officer and former BSF DG E N Rammohan to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the ambush of platoons of ‘A’ & ‘G’ Companies of the CRPF’s 62nd Battalion.

Rammohan has been asked to submit his report within 15 days. His mandate includes establishing the circumstances preceding and the sequence of events leading to the

incident of April 6, reconstructing, as far as possible, the actual events that took place on that day from 0500 hrs to 1200 hrs and until the first rescue party reached the place of incident.

The inquiry will examine call records of mobile telephones used by the deceased/injured personnel during the encounter and gather evidence from family members “that would throw light on the actual events that took place during the ambush, analyzing and establishing the decision/command structure/ hierarchy and the specific levels which took relevant decisions leading to the incident.”

Also on the agenda: examining the training imparted to the relevant companies of CRPF and details of SoPs issued, response of the state police and the CRPF, both during the ambush and post-ambush relief and rescue operations.

Dantewada op shows lapses in training: General

TNN, Apr 9, 2010, 02.37am IST

NEW DELHI: With its long counter-insurgency experience in Kashmir and North-East, the Army feels the 80-member strong CRPF contingent brutally ambushed at Dantewada on Tuesday committed several operational lapses, which reflects poorly on their training and tactics as well as command and control.

Voicing the shock that as many as 76 jawans were killed in a single ambush, Army chief General V K Singh on Thursday said, "It's a matter of what has happened, there were some internal deficiencies, which may be in their training or some other things. They (paramilitary forces) are looking into it.''

While noting that around 40,000 paramilitary and police personnel have been trained by the Army for the anti-Naxal operations, Gen Singh pointed out that the CRPF's 62nd battlion, which got ambushed on Tuesday, had not been trained by his force.

There are `problem areas' in how paramilitary and police personnel are trained. "At times, we don't get homogeneous entities. I mean that a company does not come to us as a company (together), which happens in the Army,'' he said.

Conversely, the Army companies or battalions, `right from the officer to the man down below', train together as a single entity to learn the intricacies of counter-insurgency. Incidentally, Army's specialised counter-insurgency and jungle warfare school at Vairengte in Mizoram even has the motto: "Fight a guerrilla like a guerrilla''.

"We have been battling hard-core, well-equipped militants in J&K and North-East for decades. We have never lost so many men in a single ambush. Area domination with a strong anti-Naxal grid has to be established in the affected regions,'' said a senior officer.

The Army follows time-tested drills of spreading out its long-range patrols, with a few scouts in the front, followed by `point sections' to probe for ambushes and presence of militant presence. The bulk of the patrol comes only after them, and in turn is followed by another detachment to protect the rear.

"Even if an ambush is well-planned, there is always the scope of regrouping and fighting back. Our officers lead from the front. Many captains, majors and colonels have died in both J&K and North-East. How many IPS officers have died in the anti-Naxal operations?'' added another officer.

The armed forces, of course, remain strongly opposed to being dragged into the anti-Naxal operations as well, heavily committed as they are in counter-militancy duties in Kashmir and North-East.

Gen Singh, on his part, said they were providing advise, training and logistical support to the paramilitary and police forces. He said the Army has given some suggestions to the home ministry and would try and see what more it could do.

On Naxal trail, they haven't fired in a year

Sanjay Ojha, TNN, Apr 9, 2010, 03.24am IST

RANCHI: It's war. And every officer and constable of Jharkhand police deployed in Maoist-hit areas is well prepared for it. Right? Wrong. In the last three years, most of them have not fired a weapon at a paper target — far less a Maoist bent on killing them.

Brandishing AK-47s and Insas rifles, they are good at inspiring awe among children and villagers, but how are they in combat? "In a crunch situation, I don't know how my men will react or even if they fire, whether they will make the bullets count," admitted an inspector.

A random check by TOI on firearms training and practice by policemen in Jharkhand revealed that most constables and junior officers have not used their weapons even once in the last year. Three years in case of senior IPS officers.

Such is the situation in a war zone, although the police manual makes it mandatory for every policeman, from the constable to DGP, to go for shooting practice at least once a year and fire 30 rounds. TOI spoke to 15 constables, an equal number of sub-inspectors, two SPs and a DIG on Thursday. They all admitted that they have not fired a single bullet in a long time. "I have not visited the shooting range in the last one-and-a-half years," said a sub-inspector posted in Maoist-hit Bundu block.

Asked how he managed to escape the mandatory shooting practice, the SI blamed the district's SSP. "It is the responsibility of the SSP or the SP to fix shooting schedule for officers and constables. Since our SSP has not asked us we did not go for it," he said.

"In the last two years I have never fired from my AK-47. If I am caught in an encounter and the Maoists are no more than 10-15 meters away, I am sure I would still miss," says a constable deployed in anti-Maoist operations.

Unmanned eye in the sky in Dantewada

UAV trials to start in rebel zones next week

CRPF jawans in Allahabad on Thursday at the cremation of one of their colleagues killed in Dantewada. (AFP)
New Delhi, April 8: The home ministry plans to start trials of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) next week in Dantewada, where Maoists trapped and killed 76 CRPF personnel on Tuesday, and other rebel zones.

The UAVs, which will aim to give paramilitary forces on the ground an eye in the sky, will be unarmed — unlike similar flying machines on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border that are used to hit the Taliban.

The move, along with other measures to improve the CRPF, came on a day the government announced a one-man panel to probe possible lapses in intelligence and breaches in safety procedures that led to the Dantewada killings.

The announcement about the UAVs followed Union home minister P. Chidambaram’s statement earlier in the day indicating the option of using air power against Maoists was open. “My view is that if necessary, we can revisit it. We have to reflect on it,” he said after a meeting of the cabinet committee on security this morning.

A senior ministry official said “the trials (of the UAVs) will begin in Dantewada and elsewhere next week”. The process of acquiring the Israeli manufactured UAVs is being speeded up, he said, adding that the paramilitary forces could get them within four months.

The UAVs will scan forest areas from 3,000-5,000 feet above the ground, with information and visuals on Maoist movements available real time to the troops. The defence forces already have several such UAVs. “These are needed at the border,” said the official.

Chidambaram said the Maoists were buying weapons from “arms bazaars” across the border, alluding to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. “There are arms bazaars across the border. They (the rebels) bring them clandestinely into the country,” he said, adding that another source was the arms looted from slain troops.

Chidambaram also said mine-protected vehicles had been ordered from abroad, including 280 for the CRPF, because of the “extremely limited capacity” of the Indian public and private sectors to produce them.

Although, the government said today the probe panel would pinpoint the reasons for the carnage, there was a view within a section of the government that the battle of Mukram — the theatre of the conflict in the Dandakaranya forest — had exposed the lack of an intelligence-gathering network in Maoist-hit areas.

“We have appointed a one-member inquiry committee headed by a retired DG-level (police) officer. The committee will submit its report on what went wrong in Dantewada within a time-bound period. Only then can we comment on reasons of this failure,” said the official, accepting that lack of training was a possible reason. Other officials echoed him, but said the failure to follow standard operating procedures was also to blame.

Sources said the CRPF company targeted in Mukram had not had any refresher training for over a year, the last one being held in March 2009. “The problem is that our edifice to train the paramilitary has not kept pace with the increase in the number of personnel. In contrast, the defence forces have,” said the official.

The ministry now plans to have more training centres. One plan on the table is to hive off the force into two units — one for maintaining law and order and comprising older personnel and the second, made up of younger, better trained jawans for anti-insurgency duties. The CRPF has already identified 10 such battalions for anti-insurgency.

Another sore point in the ministry is the use of the paramilitary forces for what they believe are non-essential duties. One recent example was the use of the CRPF to control employee protests in the Punjab power board. “Why can’t Punjab police handle such trouble. Why should the CRPF be deployed for this?” asked a ministry official. The deployment was done after Punjab chief minister met the Prime Minister.

Army spots holes

There were “internal deficiencies” in the way the CRPF carried out the Dantewada operation, army chief General V.K. Singh said today, adding the battalion involved had not been trained by the military. He said there were “problem areas” in training the CRPF personnel but added the 62nd battalion, whose men were massacred on Tuesday, was not trained by his force.

“At times, we don’t get homogeneous entities for training. It means that if it is a company (for training), it does not come to us as a company (together), which happens in the army.”

Singh said the performance of the army in counter-insurgency operations was better as “it is the complete lot that comes to us for training, right from officer to the man down below.”

'No one to blame for ambush, part of fighting a war'

Soumittra S Bose, TNN, Apr 9, 2010, 03.22am IST

JAGDALPUR: Though it was a tactical error costing 76 CRPF men their lives in a Naxal ambush in the Tarmetola forests on Tuesday, Chhattisgarh director general of police Vishwa Ranjan said no single person has been held responsible for it.

"We have not rebuked any officer or jawan," he told TOI on Thursday. With a series of major setbacks, including loss of lives of senior officers, the cops seem to have started taking the ongoing tussle with the rebels as a matter of routine. However, there are many voices that echo emptiness rather than a resolve.

The DGP, who visited the site of the encounter with senior CRPF officials on Thursday, said that confidence of the force would not be affected despite the huge loss. "The morale gets affected when blame is pinned on somebody," he said. "But we have not allowed that to happen."

Indicating that the confidence has not been dented, Ranjan said: "Our men fought bravely for two hours. There are several manoeuvres and counter- manoeuvres. In a battlefield, casualties are bound to happen. Here, the mistake we made was not to come to grips with the situation quickly."

A chat with a constable from the Kukanar (in Dantewada tehsil) police station, confirmed Ranjan's words. "Violence perpetrated by the Maoists are regular features in the state. This was (referring to the recent casualties) something big, but such occurrences of different scale keep happening," said the constable. "The grassroots fighters have to face the brunt because they are present in the field. Police personnel cannot afford to get on the backfoot."

Maoists buy arms from B'desh, Myanmar, Nepal

9 Apr 2010, 0442 hrs IST,ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Maoists are procuring weapons from illegal arms bazaars across the border, home minister P Chidambaram said here on Thursday even as the Centre ordered an inquiry by former BSF chief E N Rammohan into the Dantewada attack.

“They buy arms from across the border. There are arms bazaars across the border. They bring them clandestinely into the country,”
he told reporters here after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security. When asked to specify which borders he was referring to, he cited India’s open and porous borders with Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Suggesting that it was from these very arms bazaars that northeast insurgents got arms, Mr Chidambaram said Maoists’ arsenal comprised arms looted from security forces, those procured from illegal markets and even country-made weapons.

MHA sources later said the prime source of weapons being procured by Indian insurgents was the Chinese arms mafia, and weapons were mostly routed through conduits in Chittagong and Myanmar. However, arms coming in from Nepal were passed on by surrendered cadres of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Mr Chidambaram said Maoists were also funding their operations by looting weapons and extorting money from mining companies located in affected areas.

MHA on Thursday set up a one-member committee headed by a retired DGP-level officer E N Rammohan to probe the circumstances and possible lapses that led to the killing of 76 security personnel in Tuesday’s Maoist ambush in Dantewada. Mr Rammohan, who will submit the report in 15 days, would reconstruct the sequence of events, besides analysing the command structure and hierarchy behind the Dantewada deployment decisions.

The report would contain suggestions for mitigating the lapses to prevent recurrence of similar incidents. Mr Chidambaram reiterated that something had gone wrong. “I maintain what I said yesterday that something went wrong...we have to find out what went wrong,” he said.

Mr Chidambaram refused to elaborate on prime minister’s comments that the government had not taken any decision to use air power to quell extremist violence. “My view is that, if necessary, we can revisit it. We have to reflect on it,” he said adding: “If there is a policy revision, you will be informed.”

Even as deployment of IAF for active counter-Naxal operations seems unlikely, the government has decided to go ahead with its plan to procure unmanned aerial vehicles, micro air vehicles to be precise, for the para-military forces for “real time air surveillance.” The trials of UAVs, which will be a valuable force multiplier, are set to begin next week, according to an MHA official.

MHA has also decided to reiterate the standard operating procedures to each units of central forces deployed on counter-Naxal operations. “The lesson learnt from Tuesday’s attack is that we just cannot make a mistake,” an official said.

The government will go in for a training overhaul for the forces, besides pushing in more copters for troop mobility during surgical, intelligence-based strikes. The MHA has particularly requested BPCL facility at Jagdalpur to ensure fuelling of the aircraft to be used in the counter-Naxal operations.

Former BSF boss to probe massacre in Dantewada

Manan Kumar
First Published : 09 Apr 2010 02:04:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 09 Apr 2010 08:22:21 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Under pressure to explain the loss of 76 CRPF jawans in the Dantewada massacre, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday set up a high-level independent committee under E N Rammohan, former Director-General of the Border Security Force.
The inquiry committee has been tasked to look into what went wrong and why and also come up with recommendations for security forces within 15 days so that in future such costly lapses could be avoided, a top Home Ministry official said.

Rammohan has been asked to establish circumstances preceding and the sequence of events leading to the incident, reconstruct the actual events that took place between 5 am to 12 noon until the first rescue party reached the place of incident.
He will examine the Cal Data Records of mobile telephones used by the deceased/ injured personnel of CRPF during the encounter and gather evidence from family members and others to throw light on the actual events that took place during the ambush, the Home Ministry said.

The DG would also analyse and establish the decision/ command structure/hierarchy and the specific levels which took relevant decisions concerning the area domination operations leading to the incident.

Putting the onus of anti- Naxal operations on the states, Chidambaram said: "Whether the operations will continue or intensify, these decisions have to be taken by the state government and the operational commanders.

"We will provide paramilitary forces to the state governments to assist them to carry out anti-Naxal operations, regain control so that they can restore the developmental process," he said

Naxals eye campuses for new recruits

MK Madhusoodan / DNA

Bangalore: Not the villages, Karnataka’s campuses are the new hunting grounds for naxals. Intelligence dossier of the state police reveals naxals are scouring campuses in Mangalore and Shimoga for new recruits and sympathisers.

“Perhaps, it’s the ideology that attracts these students. An anti-establishment sentiment is being driven into the mind of these youngsters,” the intelligence report said.

Saketh Rajan, the man who started the Maoist movement in south India and who was shot dead in 2005, is a legend in this part of the state.

Naxals are using Rajan’s charisma to "inspire" students. “Universities like Kuvempu, Mangalore are potential training grounds for naxals,” a senior police officer said.

“Most of the arrested naxals are fresh graduates. Some of them are well-qualified and one was a journalist from Shimoga,” another police official said.

Director general of police Ajai Kumar Singh and his officers have been taking a holistic approach to tackle the problem within Karnataka.

“We want to win over the sympathisers of the outfit. So we decided to set up an anti-naxal force (ANF) in the most affected areas. We have scaled down the combing operations and are also interacting with the people who were feel violence is the only way out,” he said.

Shimoga, Mangalore, Udupi and Chickamagalur are the worst naxal-hit areas.

City CRPF jawan’s luck ran out the third time

Express News Service

First Published : 09 Apr 2010 05:03:00 AM IST

CHENNAI: B Mohana Rangan, one of the CRPF constables killed in the Naxal ambush in Dantewada on Tuesday, had missed death by a whisker twice — once in 2000 at Tripura and then in Chhattisgarh six months back.

On Monday night, he had called his family in Chennai and told them that his team was preparing for a ‘tough mission’.

The body of the 45-year-old constable was brought to Chennai on Thursday, along with that of D Sekhar (38) from Vellore district and K Vijayakumar (39) from Kanyakumari district.

The final rites of the deceased is expected to be done with full State honours.

Kolathur weeps in memory of its brave son

G Saravanan

First Published : 09 Apr 2010 04:57:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 09 Apr 2010 09:46:10 AM IST

CHENNAI: CRPF constable R Mohana Rangan managed to give death the slip. Twice. But the third time around, he was not so lucky — ‘Operation Green Hunt’ proved to be his undoing. He was killed in the deadly ambush laid by the Maoists at the Dantewada forest in Chhattisgarh on April 6.

Hailing from Poompuhar Nagar in Kolathur, his fate seemed to be sealed the day (April 5) he informed his family members over phone that his team was embarking on a “tough mission”. Perhaps, his family members would never have imagined that that would be the last time they would ever hear from him.

Barely 10 hours later, on the morning of April 6, TV stations had begun broadcasting what they termed ‘breaking news’ — Maoists had massacred 76 CPRF personnel at Chhattisgarh. At Rangan’s house, family members sat glued to their television set, waiting for updates, even as a pall of gloom descended over the entire household.

Since Rangan had informed them about the operation, his family members made frantic efforts to get the latest information on his status, and it took more than a day coupled with umpteen telephone calls to different CRPF offices, to receive the news his family would have gladly done without: “Rangan mar gaya” (Rangan is dead).

Born into a traditional joint family consisting of 11 brothers and sisters, 45-year-old Rangan is survived by his wife Sujatha and a 13-year-old daughter, Anusha. Prior to this, he had also served in the Black Cat Commando unit for about 10 years and was part of BJP leader LK Advani’s security.

Keeping a stoic appearance in the face of tragedy, Rangan’s brother Raghupati hailed him as a brave son, born as he was into a family of freedom fighters. Recalling his early brushes with death, Raghupati said, “Rangan was unlucky the third time. He had survived two such incidents earlier. While in Tripura during 2000, Rangan almost died when his commando unit was caught in an explosion, but he survived with severe fractures to his skull. Likewise, for the second time, he survived another brutal attack by terrorists in Chhattisgarh some six months ago. But the third time on Tuesday, Rangan was unlucky.”“We feel honoured that Rangan died a martyr, the biggest sacrifice that anybody could make for his motherland.”

Fondly known as Danganna to his friends and relatives, Rangan was a role model to many youngsters in the Kolathur locality, awed as they were with tales of his valour and bravery.

“Whenever he came to Kolathur on two months’ leave each year, the youth here would tease him about his luxuriant moustache. We are definitely going to miss him,” said a youth who reached there just in time to catch a glimpse of his beloved Rangan for one last time.

Sekar hailed from a family of agriculturists

Like Mohana Rangan, D Sekar (37), a CRPF head constable from Vellore, also laid down his life in service of the nation in the deadly Dantewada ambush. Sekar, who was attached to the 62 battalion of the CRPF, belonged to Thokkiyam village near Tirupattur. Sekar hailed from a family of agriculturists and is survived by his wife Umamaheshwari (31) and two daughters, Gopikashri (3) and Harinishri (6 months). He was the only son of his parents. His body would be laid to rest with State honours on Friday morning.

Rs 5 lakh to jawans’ kin

Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Thursday sanctioned Rs 5 lakh each for the families of the three CRPF personnel, who were killed in the ambush by maoists in Chattisgarh.The three CRPF personnel from Tamil Nadu are Mohanarangan from Kolathur, Vijayakumar from Ananthamangalam and Sekar from Thokkiyam village. Expressing deep grief over the tragic incident, the CM ordered that the assistance be given to the families immediately.

'Slain CRPF jawans never trained to fight Naxals'

New Delhi, Apr 9: Army chief General V K Singh said on Thursday, Apr 8, that the 76 CRPF personnels who were killed by Maoists were never trained in jungle warfare to fight the Maoists, media reports said.

Responding to the query on the Dantewada massacre, Army Chief said that what had happened in Dantewada was the result of internal deficiencies.

"This is a matter of concern... in what has happened, there were some internal deficiencies, which may be in their training or some other things and they (paramilitary forces) are thinking over it,"
he said.

Stating the army had trained over 40,000 police and CRPF personnel in counter-insurgency operations, the Army Chief said that the 76 slain CRPF jawans of 62nd battalion were never trained by them.

He acknowledge that there are certain problem areas in training the CRPF personnels as the complete unit of personnel do not come for training unlike the Army.

"At times, we don't get homogeneous entities for training. It means that if it is a Company (for training), it does not come to us as a Company (together), which happens in the Army.

He said that the Army perform better in counter-insurgency operations because everyone is trained well.

"It is the complete lot that comes to us for training, right from officer to the man down below," he said.

The Army Chief said that they have suggested certain measures which could be of help to the CRPF and state police forces

"we are suggesting some measures to the home ministry and I am sure once implemented things will become better," he said.

Singh refused to comment on the flaws of the CRPF operation in Dantewada, stating that it would be wrong to say anything on the matter without getting full details

"I can't comment on it as I was not there. Till the time we don't get the details, it will be wrong for me to comment."

Commenting on the whether the Home Ministry had approached the Defence Ministry for any help, he said that they have not yet received any request for help.

"Home ministry has not asked for anything. The aid given by the Air Force is in terms of airlift of troops and stores and the assistance given by us in terms of training and advice. If they want any other assistance, I think it can be decided mutually between the home and the defence ministries."

Asked whether the Army was willing to be deployed in the anti-Maoists operation if it was asked to do so, Singh said that they were ready to do that needful.

"It is a hypothetical question. If it happens, we are deployed all over, we will act accordingly."

OneIndia News

UAVs to be used in fighting Naxals: Report

Updated on Friday, April 09, 2010, 11:24 IST
Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: After suffering a huge setback in the deadly Dantewada ambush, the government is now mulling to deploy spy drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) for greater surveillance of the Naxal-ruled areas at the tri-junction of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, claimed reports on Friday.

As per the report published in a leading English daily, the deployment of drones will give an extra edge to the security forces camping in the region in terms of know-how, exact locations and movement of the Naxal brigade.

It is believed that the causalities suffered by the central paramilitary forces could have been reduced or avoided if UAVs were used in covering the forest area adjoining the the Dantewada district of Chattisgarh.

The post-attack analysis by the experts have brought to fore the fact that the humiliation suffered by the security forces could have been avoided as UAVs could have easily captured the movement of fully-trained Naxal commandoes, who laid a trap for the security forces.

The using drones in aerial surveillance of the forest area ahead of long-haul patrols, would alert the ground forces and help them in meeting any eventuality by the Naxal insurgents

These Israeli drones, controlled through ground stations several miles away, will give the security forces real-time intelligence and imagery to track the movement of ultras even through thick jungles

The deployment of drones comes even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister indicated earlier that air power may be used in combating Naxals.

The Prime Minister, as well as, the top Air Force officials doesn’t see air strikes and the use of helicopter gunships as a good idea in fighting Maoists. Using gunships to fire at insurgents could also lead to the possibility of collateral damage, which the government wants to avoid.

Besides using two to three of the Israeli Heron and Searcher-II drones, the Home Ministry is also speeding up the process for procurement of Israeli UAVs for CRPF, BSF and ITBP.

The government also plans to test one new Israeli UAV in the Naxal-infested areas as early as next week. Based on the results, the Home Ministry will put three-four more such drones for air-surveillance over Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra.

The Home Ministry is also taking several other initiatives to increase the capacity of paramilitary forces -- CRPF, BSF and ITBP -- in terms of their training for specific duties in Naxal-affected areas.

The development gains significance in the wake of recent announcement by Home Minister P Chidmabaram, who said the government may have to "revisit" the mandate on use of Air Force in the offensive against Naxalites. "At present there is no mandate to use the Air Force or any aircraft. But if necessary, we will have to revisit the mandate to make some changes, " Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram made this remark shortly after paying homage to the slain troopers, who were killed by the Maoists in Dantewada forests. He also ruled out any proposal to use Army in the fight against the Naxalites.

Naxal attack: Rights group criticises government

NDTV Correspondent, Friday April 9, 2010, New Delhi

The Dantewada massacre has stunned civil society and there is a sense amongst human rights groups that a dialogue could have had better results than the violent route the government has pursued against the Naxalites.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram: ''It is the Naxalites who have described the state as an enemy and the conflict as a war. If it is a war, it has been thrust upon the state by those who do not have any legitimate right to carry weapons or kill.''

"What did the government expect when they called it a war? Did they think that there would be no retaliation?", says lawyers and member of Independent People's Tribunal, Prashant Bhushan

As the Independent People's Tribunal gets ready to hold their pre-planned meet three days after the most heinous Naxal attack in the country, the members refuse a rethink on strategy.

This prominent human rights group claims to work for the tribal people caught in the war between the Naxals and the government.

Their approach: Recall the security forces, give the tribals food, infrastructure and development and the violence will automatically de-escalate.

The government says that many members of the group are Naxal sympathizers, prominent citizens who are acting as a pressure group for the Maoists. A serious charge considering the new state offensive has ruled out space for sympathizers and ideologues.

Naturally, on the eve of this meeting everyone is asking where does the Independent People's Tribunal stand after the massacre?

Himanshu Kumar, Social Activist and member of the tribunal, says, "It is sad that in this country whoever tries to fight for justice, who talks about the poor, who brings up the issue of human rights, the government labels all of them as Naxal supporters. The government does not respect them, they try to silence them and attack them as well."

Emotions are running high over the Dantewada attack but should activists and social workers be caught in the cross fire? That's the question they are asking as they are accused of being Naxal sympathizers. But in the present climate, will the government prefer to play safe rather than sorry?

How Naxal violence hits India Inc hard

Sonal Joshi

HITTING HARD: Naxal violence is taking a heavy toll on Corporate India.
New Delhi: Naxal violence is not only hitting the government where it hurts. It is also damaging corporate India's investment and development plans. Naxal violence is concenterated mainly in the mineral rich area of the country where most of India's iron ore, coal, bauxite and limestone are found.
But none of these mineral riches can be exploited fully as Naxals regularly target factories, mills and mines. Coal India, Nalco, NMDC, SAIL, Essar Steel and Tata Steel have operations in the eastern states those are affected by Naxal violence.
In the past, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) posted a 40% decline in third-quarter profit after a slurry pipeline was damaged by Maoists. Future also looks grim. Jindal Steel had earlier planned to build a steel plant in the state but now the company is sceptical about the move. Joint Managing Director Seshagiri Rao says, "the attacks have made corporates re-think on setting up projects in Chhatisgarh."
At present, a whopping 130 billion rupees are stuck in power and steel industries in the region. Essar's iron ore plant has been targetted several times and the company is losing about 2 crore rupees every day. Tata Steel has not completed its Chhattisgarh steel plant while NMDC's plant has also been targetted. Steel Authority of India's mines too were attacked.
And even as lives and li

Video: Man behind the Dantewada attack

Bihar: Two villagers killed in Naxal attack

NDTV Correspondent, Friday April 9, 2010, Patna

Two villagers were killed after nearly 50 Naxals attacked Chenari khurd village in Rohtas district in Bihar on Friday morning.

The Naxals fired indiscriminately at the village.

The deceased have been identified as Bishambhar Mahto, 55 and his 37-year-old son Badan Mahto.

Police are suspecting the Naxals could have been paid by relatives of the deceased to carry out the killings, due to reasons of personal enmity.

Chhattisgarh top cop decodes deadly Naxal ambush

NDTV Correspondent, Friday April 9, 2010, Raipur

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans who died in Dantewada on Tuesday had no way to escape, Chhattisgarh Director General of Police (DGP) Vishwa Ranjan explained to NDTV, how the Naxals surrounded the jawans from every side.

The DGP says the Naxals fired indiscriminately, bullets were showered on the jawans from every direction from treetops, from behind, whichever way the security men tried to take cover they were boxed and butchered.

In the country's worst Maoist attack ever, at least 75 CRPF and a state police personnel were killed in an ambush on April 6, in the thick Mukrana forests of Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district. (
Read & watch: 76 security men killed by Naxals in Chhattisgarh)

The CRPF party, returning after a three-day anti-Maoist operation, were taking a break at around 6 am after travelling all night, when they were ambushed by up to 1,000 Maoists positioned on neighbouring hill top. The Naxals - aware of the CRPF movement - executed their attack with fierce precision, giving the jawans no chance to react. They blew up an anti-landmine vehicle and then began firing indiscriminately. The shocked and exhausted jawans weren't able to follow standard operating procedures like checking the road for landmines, and were massacred within minutes. The Naxals also managed to loot all the weapons that the CRPF team had. (
Read: Molotov cocktails used in ambush: Top cop)

Expressing shock over the brutal attack, Home Minister P Chidambaram had said something must have gone "drastically wrong." "The casualty is very high and I am deeply shocked at the loss of lives....This shows the savage nature of CPI (Maoist) and the brutality and the savagery they are capable of," he said. (
Watch: Something went very wrong: Chidambaram)

Dantewada attack: PC accepts responsibility


WAR AGAINST NAXALS: Chidambaram promises all support from the government to the CRPF personnel.

New Delhi: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram paid homage to the martyrs of the Dantewada Naxal attack, besides other CRPF jawans, here on Friday. Meanwhile, about 100 Naxals attacked the Kenarsila village in Sasaram district of Bihar on Friday, killing two villagers.

Attending the Valour Day function of the CRPF on Friday, Chidambaram said, "I salute the CRPF. I promise that government will always stand by you. Where does the buck stop after Dantewada? The buck stops at my desk. I accept full responsibility of what happened in Dantewada. I told this to PM as well."

Seventy five CRPF men were killed in the Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada on Tuesday. The Maoists, believed to be more than 1,000 in number, had attacked a CRPF patrol party belonging to the 62 Battalion.

"CRPF is more than a reserved force. Very little is written about bravery and ambush. I know my duties. I am doing my best within my capabilities," he added.

Chidambaram said: "With so much attention, CRPF is concerned as reserved police force. It's a force that is called upon to perform its duty on every occasion be it elections, crowd control, personal security, counter insurgency, counter-terrorism. It's a force to meet all challenges. Some of things that has been written in last few days have pleased and have pained me. It is written that they had lack of training and weapons."

"April 9 is celebrated as Valour Day. Bravery must be saluted. Today we stand on the shadow of what happened in Dantewada. Let us remember their bravery and courage."

In another report, Vikas Vaibhav, SP from Rohtas, said, "usually Naxals attack security forces or symbols of govt domination. Attacking civilians is something we don't hear of too often."

Where Does The Buck Stop?

The lives of 76 CRPF jawans were lost in the deadliest insurgent trap ever laid by Maoists in Chintalnar Tarmetla village in Chhattisgarh on April 6 morning. Reportedly, the CRPF patrol party, tired after four days of continuous operations, ran into an ambush laid by a force of Maoists believed to number between 200-300 and 800-1,000. The latter were deployed on the hills all around the police patrol as it moved on the basis of presumably false intelligence along a narrow path mined with inertial explosive devices on both sides. The patrol was mowed down. The buck in this case must stop with the home minister. For, it is obvious the jawans were not adequately trained, appropriately led or properly commanded.

This kind of situation was anticipated 10 years ago by the Kargil committee which recorded: "There is general agreement that in the light of the new situation of proxy war and largescale terrorism...the role and the task of the paramilitary forces have to be restructured particularly with reference to command and control and leadership functions. They need to be trained to much higher standards of performance and better equipped to deal with terrorist threats. The possibility of adopting an integrated manpower policy for the armed forces, paramilitary forces and the central police forces merits examination."

Unfortunately, these recommendations did not receive the attention they deserved from the group of ministers (GoM) set up to study them. The Kargil committee recommended that the colour service of men in the armed forces be reduced to seven years. It also asked that well-trained men be transferred to the paramilitary forces once they completed the colour service. This would keep the army young, save on pensions and provide the paramilitary forces trained men seasoned in counter-insurgency. This would apply to officers as well. It is not known why the recommendations were not accepted by the GoM.

There has been a strongly held conviction among the leadership of the home ministry and police service that paramilitary forces should be non-military in culture, ethos and standard of training. Tuesday's massacre as also 26/11 is a wake-up call to re-evaluate whether that assumption is wholly correct. Objective evaluation of the comparative performance of the Rashtriya Rifles and the civil paramilitary forces will help in arriving at a conclusion.

Insurgency is a combat situation, not a law and order one. The police forces are meant to handle situations where the people to be controlled are not armed. In insurgencies, the adversary is fully armed and trained as a group in combat skills. Earlier, when the police forces successfully tackled the problem of terrorism in Punjab, they were dealing with single or small groups of terrorists. They were not dealing with groups trained to engage in combat. One report suggests the group of CRPF jawans that was attacked had received training from the army. It is one thing to have a few days' or weeks' training and a totally different thing to have had actual counter-insurgency experience as ex-servicemen would have.

If reports about this encounter and other engagements with the Maoists are correct, we are obviously dealing with well-trained, highly motivated and well-equipped groups. The home secretary mentioned in a talk at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses that there were grounds to believe the Maoists could be receiving training from some ex-servicemen. If that is true, it is necessary to consider training paramilitary forces as per military standards and also to mould their ethos and orientation accordingly.

There is a compelling need to keep the paramilitary as a civilian force under the home ministry. But that should not come in the way of it being trained to infantry standards. The logical, most economical and fastest way of reaching that goal is to adopt the integrated manpower policy recommended by the Kargil committee. This matter is not likely to receive the full attention it deserves as a single ministry issue. It needs to be discussed in the National Security Council (NSC), perhaps with the help of a multidisciplinary task force.

A civilian paramilitary force with men of military standard training as well as a central police force for law and order may need to be considered. The task force may have to examine whether the civil paramilitary force for counter-insurgency and counterterrorism should be independent of the Border Security Force or merged with it. Prima facie, there is a good case to separate them from the Indian Police Service cadres.

There have been demands and suggestions that the armed forces be brought in against insurgency. To their credit, the armed forces have opposed this move. In a democracy, they should be kept out of internal developments to the maximum extent possible. This task is part of homeland security and should be treated as such. It has been recognised that, in the coming years, maintenance of internal security will require a full-time cabinet minister and will occupy much of the NSC's attention. But the primary exe-cutive agency will have to be a ministry of internal security or whatever name it is given.

The writer is strategic affairs analyst.

Left-wing extremism: All together now

"If this war has to be won we must first acknowledge that this will be a long-drawn affair that is unglamorous and as dirty as the insurgent who ceases to be a Robin Hood soon enough in his career. It is not enough to destroy, it is necessary to build. Thus the five main ingredients of any counter-insurgency campaign would be to detect, deter, destroy, develop and dialogue"

Hindustan Times, April 9th, 2010

Vikram Sood

One hundred and eighty uniformed personnel of the central and state governments have been killed by Left-wing extremists in the past one year, of which 76 were killed on April 6. In terms of cold statistics, this is nothing compared to starvation deaths and deaths due to diseases in India; the former is a threat to the State, although it loses considerable legitimacy by allowing the other two kinds of deaths to continue. Death by the bullet is more dramatic, however.

Inevitably, the April 6 massacre close to Chiltanar village in the dense forests of Dantewada has raised allegations about yet another intelligence failure. It was partly that but it was also insider support for the extremists, who tipped off the Maoists about the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) deployment. It was also a failure of a system that refuses to learn from past mistakes. When all systems break down, it is difficult to expect the intelligence systems to perform any better.

The CRPF is not a local force; it has no knowledge about the local area, intelligence, terrain and social norms. It has very little reason to mix with the local population; on the other hand, a well-equipped and well-trained local police force would be able to handle this problem far better.

If the local force is not adequately trained or equipped and the outside force is without any local expertise, then both are headed towards disaster. By repeatedly sending central forces to slaughter, we are undermining the morale of the force, the image of the force and that of its owner, in this case, the Government of India. On the other hand, the insurgents seem to have won the day.

In moments like this, there are demands that the Army be called in and the Air Force deployed to ‘crush’ the enemy. Nothing could be a bigger disaster than this. This tendency to be seen to be doing something dramatic must be resisted. We need to remember that the armed forces are professional forces trained and equipped to fight an external enemy — they are not trained to shoot in the air. They lack local knowledge and there will be overkill. This will create more acrimony. Deployment of the Army for local insurgencies takes away its prime USP — defending the external borders. Moreover, troops would need to be reoriented after extensive deployment on internal security duties. Its training would suffer and, therefore, its core competence.

The Army can ensure battle victories but cannot ensure victory in the war against terror. Recent experiences of the US and that of the Soviets in Afghanistan are examples of this. Our own experience too has been mixed. What may have worked partially in the North-east and Jammu and Kashmir would not work in states that are now affected by Naxal violence. Tackling insurgencies is a hard grind that requires physical stamina on the part of the counter-terrorist and political will to stay on course, which is not co-terminus with the life span of any particular government. Counter-insurgency is also a battle of and for minds.

If this war has to be won we must first acknowledge that this will be a long-drawn affair that is unglamorous and as dirty as the insurgent who ceases to be a Robin Hood soon enough in his career. It is not enough to destroy, it is necessary to build. Thus the five main ingredients of any counter-insurgency campaign would be to detect, deter, destroy, develop and dialogue. A sound and effective local intelligence network backed by quick response mechanisms would be needed to detect and deter. Otherwise, the state will keep shooting in the dark and creating more insurgents than it destroys. Central forces may be drafted for the destruction phase if required, but there is no substitute for a well-trained and a well-equipped police force.

First, we need to reinvent our police forces, one of the most neglected, underpaid, overworked and maligned forces in the country. Its faith and pride in itself has to be restored and when its ability to interact with the population is recreated, intelligence will flow. For decades this country has talked of police reforms but nothing seems to move.

Second, the police must be equipped and trained in the latest techniques, an aspect that gets neglected due to shortage of manpower, funds and political indifference. It is possible that in some cases and some states there would be need to incorporate expertise from the armed forces for training police in counter-insurgency techniques.

Third, mere deterrence and destruction of the insurgent force is not enough. It is the rebuilding of the destroyed lives and shattered economy and the end of exploitation which will be key. This must happen more or less simultaneously with the overpowering of the insurgency. If this does not happen, the insurgency will resurrect. What is needed is a multifaceted approach that involves all arms of the government, especially the infrastructure and economic agencies of education, health, agriculture and communications that extend beyond just the law and order aspect.

Fourth, since the insurgents say they are fighting a peoples’ war, we should take this to them by involving the people on the side of the government — the media being the most important component in this battle. Media coverage is oxygen to the terrorists, whether or not a particular operation succeeds. Creation of fear is also terrorist/insurgent victory; reports of massive deployment massages the insurgents’ ego and they will seek to replicate their acts. Media management is, therefore, important for they must report but not reveal.

Fifth, what is needed is a functioning National Counter Terrorism Centre to coordinate the anti-insurgency operations.

Finally, it is a long hard battle — and there are no quick fixes. There is no slash and burn.

Vikram Sood is former Secretary, Research & Analysis Wing.

The views expressed by the author are personal



There is a confusing debate in our electronic media about the pros and cons of using air power against the Maoist insurgents. The debate has been triggered off by remarks made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P.Chidambaram about all options remaining open, including the use of air power. These comments were made after the Maoists succeeded in butchering 75 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force plus one member of the District Police in a deadly ambush in the forests of the Dantewada District of Chattisgarh on April 6, 2010.

2. There are three concepts involved---use of air power, use of air strikes and use of the Air Force in the operations against the insurgents. Air power is a wide term implying the use of air-borne assets such as aircraft, helicopters and armed or unarmed Drones (pilotless planes) for performing various operational tasks such as intelligence collection, electronic monitoring of ground signals, logistics, humanitarian relief and attacks on the ground positions of the insurgents.

3.Air strike is a restricted term meaning the use of air-borne assets only for the purpose of attacking the insurgents' ground positions.Use of the Air Force means using the air-borne assets of the Air Force.

4. In the history of India's counter-insurgency, we have used air strikes by the Air Force only once----in 1966 when the Mizo National Front (MNF), in a surprise attack, overran practically the whole of Mizoram, including Aizawl, its capital. To dislodge the MNF insurgents from Aizawl, air strikes by the Air Force of a limited duration were ordered. Apart from that we have not used air strikes by the Air Force for dealing with internal security situations. A basic principle followed by many countries is that one cannot resort to air strikes in one's own territory against one's own people.

5.Air strikes on one's own nationals tend to aggravate an insurgency situation by causing casualties of civilians, damaging the environment in forest areas and driving more people to join the ranks of the insurgents. They also attract the attention and criticism of international human rights organisations such as the Amnesty International and humanitarian relief organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

6. There are cases of some nations resorting to air strikes by their Air Froce against their own nationals for dealing with an insurgency.Examples: Pakistan's use of its Air Force against the Baloch nationalists and the Pakistani Taliban, Russia's use of the Air Force against the Chechens and Sri Lanka's use of its Air Force against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In Pakistan and Russia it has aggravated the insurgency problem. In Sri Lanka, the air strikes helped in crushing the insurgency, but it has been facing an embarrassing sequel in the form of international demands for an enquiry into the way it crushed the LTTE.

7. The use of air strikes by our Air Force against the Maoist positions on the ground would be inadvisable. It could brutalise our counter-insurgency operations. Over the years, India has made for itself a name as a role-model in its restrained counter-insurgency approach. We have dealt with serious situations without resorting to air strikes and the use of heavy artillery. We should not deviate from our exemplary record of the past in dealing with alienated sections of our population who have taken to arms against the State.

8. Use of air power without air strikes is permissible in counter-insurgency situations. We are already using air power for dealing with internal security situations. For special interventions for terminating a terrorist attack, we use aircraft under the control of the Aviation Research Centre (ARC), a civilian organisation, piloted by Air Force officers taken on deputation by the ARC. They go into action not on behalf of the Air Force, but on behalf of a civilian wing of the Government (the ARC). Similarly, even in Dantewada on April 6, we used air power for logistics and humanitarian purposes such as the evacuation of the injured.

9. Similarly, for years, we have been using the surveillance aircraft of the ARC for intelligence collection purposes while dealing with an insurgency through methods such as aerial photography, electronic monitoring of ground signals etc. It is totally in order for us to continue to use air power for such purposes. It will be equally in order for us to undertake a post-mortem of the adequacy of the airpower available for use in counter-insurgency situations. If there are deficiencies, how to remove them?

10. There are two ways of removing the deficiencies--- augment the air power of para-military organisations such as the CRPF and the Border Security Force (BSF) and supplement their air power by using the air-borne assets of the Air Force. After 1966, we have not used the air-borne assets controlled by the Air Force in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism situations. If we want to use the assets of the Air Force in future on a regular basis, procedural complications might arise because the assets of the Air Force were sanctioned and acquired for use against external adversaries and not for use in internal security situations. That is why the Air Force chief seems to have some reservations on this issue.

11. A correct solution, which will not prove controversial, will be to undertake a crash programme for augmenting the air power of the para-military forces and the ARC.

12. Barring the example of Operation Blue Star in the Golden Temple at Amritsar in 1984, we have avoided using the Armed Forces for counter-insurgency situations in areas away from the border. In the bordering areas, the cross-border dimensions make the use of the armed forces for an active role become unavoidable. But we do avoid in other areas. We should continue doing so. We would not like the Maoists, who have taken to arms against the police and the para-military forces, to start looking upon the armed forces also as their enemies and begin attacking them.

13. The Armed Forces should be used only in a desperate ground situation. The situation in the Maoist-controlled areas is serious, but not desperate. Chidambaram's image as a no-nonsense professional to the core has taken a beating after the way he mishandled the case for the extradition of David Coleman Headley, of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), and the Maoist insurgency . Instead of drawing the right lessons from the set-backs suffered by him so far, he is tending to lose patience and embark on even more escalatory methods. This could prove counter-productive. ( 9-4-2010)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Wednesday, April 07, 2010



1. Start a crash programme for the development of road and telecommunications infrastructure in the entire tribal belt of Central India. The Chinese realised that without effective road and rail communications, the internal security will be weak. They poured billions of dollars into infrastructure development programmes in the areas with internal security vulnerabilities. If one has only one usable road in a district, it will be unfair to blame the police for using the same road for their to and fro movements.

2.Provide effective security to road construction engineers and workers. They will become the target of attacks by Maoists to disrupt the construction.

3.It will be futile for the present to undertake operations to free the so-called liberated zones from the control of the Maoists. The State will incur large casualties without making headway. Prevent the terrorists from expanding the "liberated zones" which they have already set up by strengthening the State's presence and control in the areas where the Maoists have not yet been able to make inroads. The programme for the prevention of the expansion of the "liberated zones" should provide for physical security enhancements and a development-cum-humanitarian component to address the grievances and needs of the inhabitants. Maintenance of internal security and prompt identification and redressal of grievances should go hand in hand. Strengthen the grievances redressal machinery in the areas still under the State control.

4. Every district in the tribal belt should have two Additional Collectors. One should focus exclusively on internal security and the other exclusively on development and grievances redressal. They should work under the overall supervision of the Collector.

5.Undertake a programme for the rapid expansion of the police presence and capacity in the tribal areas still under the control of the State. Widely scattered police stations with small strengths will be counter-productive. Have a smaller number of well-located and well-connected police stations with substantial strengths and a good communications network. Issue mobile phones to all police station staff to facilitate quick communications. Connect all police stations with each other and with the District Police Headquarters through video-conferencing link-ups.

6. Prepare an urgent database of the modus operandi used by the Maoists in different incidents for setting off landmines, explosive devices and booby-traps. The Maoists are learning their modus operandi and skills not from the Internet and from Al Qaeda and other jihadi terrorist groups. They are learning them by studying the MO used by the Chinese PLA, by the Vietcong in Vietnam, by the Pathet Lao in Laos, by the White Flag Communists in Myanmar, by the Communists in Malaya and by the Maoists in the Philippines and Nepal. The jihadis' MO are urban-specific for use in urban conglomerations. The Maoists' MO are jungle-specific. They are making effective use of material available in the jungles for their booby-traps. Update this data-base after every incident and create widespread awareness of these MO in the police force. Teach the police force appropriate techniques for countering these MO.

7.The Maoists are building up their holdings of hand-held weapons through successful raids on police stations and armouries. It is a matter of serious concern that they are repeatedly able to do it. Enhance physical security in all police establishments where weapons are kept. Hold officers in charge of armouries responsible and take action against them every time the Maoists launch a successful raid for the capture of arms and ammunition.

8. Don't make an unintelligent foray into Maoists "liberated zones" and strongholds and get trapped. Think of ways of trapping the Maoists by goading them into attacking the strongholds of the State and be prepared to inflict heavy casualties on them when they do so.

9. Think of ways of preventing the flow of essential articles like rice etc into the Maoists "liberated zones" and strongholds in order to starve them.

10. Set up an Auxiliary Intelligence Corps like the Territorial Army or the Auxiliary Air Force. It should consist of part-time volunteers for intelligence collection by people in other professions who want to or are willing to help the intelligence agencies. Their links with the intelligence agencies must be protected by making the training of short duration and one-to-one instead of in a class where everyone becomes aware of the identities of others. After the training, give them mobile telephones and instruct them as to how to remain in touch with their controlling officers in guarded SMS messages using domestic codes. Pay them well---- a certain amount unrelated to their production of intelligence plus an additional amount for each piece of useful intelligence collected by them. They should be capable of operating autonomously without the need for frequent briefings by their controllers. This would be the State's answer to the sleeping cells of the insurgents.

11. Decimation operations inside the "liberated zones" should be centrally planned and implemented without the local formations taking the initiative for such operations. In this way, operational security could be better maintained. (8-4-10)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Popular support leading to Maoist attacks on security forces

Indo-Asian News Service
Hyderabad, April 06, 2010
First Published: 22:48 IST(6/4/2010)
Last Updated: 22:50 IST(6/4/2010)

Security forces in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa are coming under more attack from Maoists because the rebels enjoy considerable support among people especially tribals, feel some former police officials in Andhra Pradesh.

These officers blame the lack of development in remote tribal areas and lack of coordination between police and paramilitary forces for the rising number of attacks.
According to a former police chief, both intelligence failure as well as lack of coordination between local authorities and paramilitary forces were responsible for Tuesday's massacre of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Chhattisgarh.
Former director general of police P. Ramulu said local police officials should have accompanied the CRPF men in the dense forests where they had gone looking for Maoists.

"During such operations local officials should accompany the paramilitary forces to guide them and give suggestions as the forces may not be fully well-versed with local conditions and topography," Ramulu said.

He felt that in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa the police and security forces were coming under repeated attacks as the Maoists had considerable support among people, especially tribals.

Another former police official said Andhra Pradesh could succeed in tackling the Maoist threat as it not only used the forces, especially the anti-Maoist Greyhounds, effectively but also took up series of welfare schemes which resulted in the Maoists losing people's support.

Ramulu, who is also a leader of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), underlines the need to take up development works in forest areas in states like Chhattisgarh.
Pointing out that there was a feeling among tribals that governments were depriving them of their rights by allotting natural resources to multinational companies, he called upon the governments in those states to take steps to address this issue.
The former police chief also found fault with the policy of the central government in dealing with Maoists. He wanted a uniform policy for the entire country.
"Different policies in different states are leading to this kind of incidents," he said and called for a single command for the Operation Greenhunt in various states for better results.

Andhra Pradesh, a traditional stronghold of Maoists, effectively put down the threat in the last four years by eliminating over 300 guerrillas including top leaders

Is Chhattisgarh attack 'consequence' of Operation Green Hunt?

Posted On: 06-Apr-2010 20:35:02 By: Vikrant Seth Font Size:

Naxalites in India
New Delhi: A top maoist leader names Gopal has said that the brutal killing of 75 CRPF troopers in the dense forests of Chattisgarh was the 'direct consequence' of the government's Operation Green Hunt offensive.

Gopal, who is the 'area commander' of Bihar-Jharkahnd-northern Chhatisgarh, said 'The attack in Chhatisgarh and the earlier one in Orissa is a direct consequence of the Central Government persisting with Operation Green Hunt.'

In an interview to BBC's Hindi Service, Gopal said 'There has been no impact of Operation Green Hunt (paramilitary offensive against Maoists in five states) on our cadres. We have become more alert since then. We believe that the time to engage in direct battle with the Central Government has now come. There is a new revolutionary zeal in our cadres'.

'We have been surrounded by paramilitary battalions. They are setting fire to the forests and making adivasis (tribals) flee. In this situation, we have no other alternative (but to stage attacks).

'We were prepared to talk to the government. Chidambaram Sahab wanted a 72-hour ceasefire but our leader Kishenji offered a 72-day ceasefire. But we wanted an end to Operation Green Hunt and release of our leaders held in various jails to create the right environment for talks. But Chidambaram refused,' he said.

What's happening? A maoist leader giving interview on radio openly and challenging government. What our government is doing?

Maoist violence, which has become a major concern for the country needs the strobgest steps against it from the government.

Bloody Tuesday as Maoists massacre 75 security personnel

6 Apr 2010, 2025 hrs IST,IANS

NEW DELHI/RAIPUR: Maoist guerrillas Tuesday carried out the worst ever massacre of security personnel by trapping and slaughtering 75 men in the
dense forests of Chhattisgarh, two days after Home Minister P. Chidambaram called them cowards. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for a security meet.

"The death toll is 75 of which 74 are from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and one from the state police force. Seven others are also injured," a senior CRPF official said here in Delhi.

"The security personnel from the 62nd battalion of the force were on regular patrolling when they were ambushed by the Maoists," the official added.

The officials refused to say how many personnel were missing after the attack in Dantewada in Bastar region. The number of missing personnel could be high as a company usually comprises 100-120 men.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting with Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and the three defence chiefs. Though officials are terming it as a scheduled meeting, the Maoist attack is likely to top the agenda.

After news of the Maoist attack, a shocked Chidambaram expressed distress over the massacre as reinforcements were rushed to evacuate the wounded and save survivors of the CRPF team that had gone looking for Maoists.

Chidambaram, the spearhead of a nationwide anti-Maoist campaign called Operation Green Hunt, said the CPRF seemed to have walked into a Maoist trap.

"Something has gone very wrong," Chidambaram told reporters. "They seem to have walked into a trap set by the Naxalites. I am deeply shocked. This shows the savage nature of the CPI-Maoist, the brutality and savagery they are capable of."

In what appeared to be a meticulously planned operation, hundreds of Maoists -- one report put the number at about 700 -- bombed and fired at the CRPF personnel as they entered a hilly stretch of forest where the rebels have held sway for decades, running a de facto state.

According to the sequence of events, after receiving information about Maoist presence, a small CRPF search party was sent into the jungle. The troopers came under attack from the rebels and a gunfight ensued. Reinforcements were sent for, which comprised a 120-strong contingent that went in a vehicle and was ambushed by the rebels.

The incident took place about 450 km south of Raipur. Dantewada is considered a stronghold of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says has emerged as the biggest internal security threat.

"A massive contingent of heavily armed Maoists ambushed a CRPF team in a hilly stretch. They first triggered blasts from all directions and followed (it) with indiscriminate firing," Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan told IANS.

He said one chopper had been sent from Jagdalpur, headquarters of Bastar district, to move the injured to hospital. A strong contingent of state police force had rushed to the site.

Many security personnel are reportedly missing, and two Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters looked for them in the forests, police sources said. The attackers made away with weapons.

CRPF Director General Vikram Srivastava and senior officers from New Delhi are reviewing the situation in the state. The air force has also asked its attack Mi-17 chopper and transport aircraft AN-32 to remain on stand by. Choppers from the central paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) are involved in search and rescue operations.

It was the worst massacre since Maoists stormed an isolated police post in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district in March 2007 and killed 55 policemen.

Former Punjab police chief K.P.S. Gill described the anti-Maoist operation as "flawed".

"It has been a flawed operation, it still is," said Gill, a former security advisor to the Chhattisgarh government. "Their basic concept is flawed," he told Times Now television.

Other experts said the dead men Tuesday had violated the basic principles of anti-insurgency operations by travelling in large numbers in vehicles, providing an easy target for the Maoist People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA).

"There is a clear-cut instruction for paramilitary as well as police to not use vehicles for any offensive in forested interiors. They are to go only on foot and also not in groups," said one officer, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The CRPF men grossly neglected the manuals and finally paid the price."

While Chhattisgarh Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar blamed the killings on intelligence failure, Chief Minister Raman Singh said: "We need to review our strategy every day. We need to have better coordination."

Chhattisgarh's mineral rich Bastar region has 40,000 sq km of land area but is among the poorest in India in economic development. It is dominantly home to impoverished tribals, many of whom work for the Maoists.

Bastar has witnessed a string of deadly attacks since 2005 that has claimed over 1,600 lives.

On Sunday, Chidambaram visited Lalgarh, a Maoist hub in West Bengal. There, he called the rebels cowards and then gave a virtual clean chit to the Chhattisgarh government, saying the situation there had improved vis-a-vis the Maoists.