A CONSIDERABLE decline in the involvement of senior officers has led to a dip in quality of operations, such as not setting up tactical resting sites for troops — this is a key shortcoming listed by the CRPF in a review of the force’s Chhattisgarh-based units over the last two years, The Indian Express has learnt.
A senior officer told The Indian Express that a detailed report based on the review was sent to units based in Sukma, Konta, Bijapur, Dantewada, Jagdalpur, and Raipur on September 17. In Chhattisgarh, the CRPF is mainly involved in anti-Maoist operations, and maintenance of law and order, along with the state police.
A major finding of the review by senior officials at the sector headquarters is that the involvement of senior officers at the level of commandant and second-in command has considerably decreased.
“Their involvement is a very important factor to decide the quality and output of any operation. It has been noticed after reviewing all the operations that there has been a continuous decline in the level of quality of operations and their outcomes,” the officer said.
“Even LUPs are rare now,” the officer said. LUP or Lying Up Position is the tactical site where a unit stops for a brief period during operations. “The location is chosen in a way that forces are ready for an ambush or a raid after alerts from sentries posted on high features,” the officer said.
In the review report, the sector headquarters has also asked units to follow specific guidelines while conducting operations.
“All operations must be led by GOs (gazetted officers – assistant commandant) and the strength of a single company should not be less than 45 and two companies’ strength should not be less than 75. Each general duty battalion company and CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) troops should remain out for operations for a minimum of 15 days in a month,” the officer said.
“The form of operations may be night ambush, ambush, and area domination duty. CoBRA units must participate in long duration and long distance operation with more than 48 hours and also do LUP,” the officer said.
Every senior officer — commandant, second-in-command (2IC), deputy commandant — has to lead a minimum of three operations and be involved in at least three LUPs in a month. “All operation ranges have been directed to make their strategy plan accordingly,” the officer said.
On July 27, the Ministry of Home Affairs referred to the last major incident of left-wing extremism in Chhattisgarh in a Lok Sabha reply: “During a joint operation launched by the State Police and Para Military Forces, 22 security forces personnel — eight from CRPF and 14 from police were killed in exchange of fire with Left Wing Extremists in the area of Sukma on April 3 this year. Inputs indicate that some LWEs were also killed in this encounter.”
On February 2, MoS (Home) G Kishan Reddy told Lok Sabha: “263 incidents reported in 2019 in which 22 personnel of security forces were killed, 22 civilians were killed, 79 left wing extremists (LWEs) were killed and 367 were arrested. In 2020, 315 incidents were reported in which 36 personnel of security forces were killed, 75 civilians were killed, 44 LWEs were killed and 320 were arrested.”