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Sukma massacre: CRPF will have to introspect
Last week, 25 brave constables of CRPF on road protection duty at Sukma in Bastar division of Chhattisgarh were martyred by the Naxals in an ambush.

Reportedly, some bodies were even mutilated by the Naxals who also looted 12 of their weapons. This incident happened just 20 kms from the place where Naxals had ambushed another road protection party of CRPF killing 12 of their jawans on March 11 this year. These two incidents happening within 45 days of each other and that also almost at the same spot is certainly a matter of concern. What is the IPS hierarchy and policy planning of CRPF doing? Why all these incidents happen only with CRPF and not BSF, ITBP and SSB, who are also serving in the same area?

An enquiry has been ordered, but will the details ever come out in public domain, remains a big question! Most probably not. Findings of the enquiry will get white washed, police style, till another ambush takes place. No lessons will be learnt as it has happened earlier. Currently, all sorts of stories, some emanating from CRPF itself, are doing rounds in the media. One version says that it was a lunch break and jawans were having lunch after posting necessary look outs when they were ambushed. If look outs were there then why they did not open fire from long distance and alert their comrades? 

Another version says that Naxals were on the surrounding hill tops and they opened fire from there. Then, the question comes that it is impossible to get a clear shot in thick forest cover from hill tops, so how could the Naxals have opened fire from there? 

According to another version, the Naxals had climbed trees and were firing from there. A Naxal sitting on a tree is a sitting duck and surely, Naxals are no fools. 

Still another version says that while the CRPF personnel were 99 in number, the Naxals who attacked them were 300. Now, who counted the Naxals? Besides, 99 well-trained CRPF personnel can easily take on 300 Naxals in a jungle terrain. In other words, all these are cock and bull stories and are either untrue or may be partially true.

The truth is that CRPF being a police organisation, all its senior officers happen to be from IPS cadre, who spend some time with the force and then leave for greener pastures. This results in lack of deep knowledge of senior officers about their men. Another major factor is the lack of knowledge of jungle warfare by these IPS officers. It needs to be understood that jungle warfare is full-scale warfare where only those commanders will succeed who know these jungles inside out. It is not maintenance of law and order or FIR writing, in which these IPS officers have plethora of knowledge. So, there is mismatch between the lower level leadership and higher level leadership. This could have been overcome to a large extent, if the Home Ministry of India and hierarchy of CRPF would have inducted serving and retired Army officers as advisors from company level upwards in those CRPF units working in jungles. Accustomed to working in compartments, the IPS lobby is loath to accept this, and if in the bargain, their constables get massacred, so be it. Currently, even the advisors in the CRPF serving in Bastar are ex-IPS officers.

Time has come for some serious introspection by the Modi government and its Home Ministry. We cannot afford to lose precious lives like this. Under the CM of Chhattisgarh, there is a need to establish a joint command headed by a senior Army officer with the necessary staff. All CPO and paramilitary forces operating under this joint command must do three-month induction training in the Indian Army's famous Jungle Warfare School where even US Army unit had got trained. The troops operating in Bastar must be equipped with short-range drones for intelligence gathering. In addition, they must have their own intelligence units. Accountability must be fixed at the higher ranks in order to ensure that senior officers do not get away with their blunders.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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