April 29, 2006

CRPF training to curb Naxal Menace

CRPF training woes

New Delhi, April 29: The battle-worthiness of the Central Reserve Police Force for anti-Naxalite operations is in doubt even as the Centre is giving final touches to a major offensive against the rebels.

According to a recent presentation made by the CRPF to Union home ministry officials, only 7 per cent of its personnel — approximately 14,700 — were able to complete a two-month compulsory training this year because of constant deployment.

Even fewer personnel — 12,600 or 6 per cent — were able to take the training last year.

A CRPF official said the two-month training is considered sacrosanct to keep the forces fighting fit, as it not only provides relief from the fatigue that they undergo during deployment but also sharpens their skill in tactical warfare and use of weaponry.

Occupied with deployment duty, only a small fraction of the force is able to train for extreme challenges like fighting Naxalites or militants.

With about 2.10 lakh personnel at its command, the CRPF is the main central paramilitary force dealing with security problems arising out of insurgency.

So heavy has been the deployment of CRPF during the last four to five years that even its director-general’s reserve battalions, which are meant for recreational duty and emergency situations, had to be deployed for counter-insurgency duty.

“When deployed in anti-insurgency operations, CRPF personnel are considered to be on duty seven days a week and 24 hours a day. This drains them. The refresher training course provides them the energy to go back to their highly demanding jobs again,” said the official.

Officials also consider this as a major reason for not achieving enough success in their operations against Naxalites and insurgent groups in Kashmir and the Northeast.

In its presentation, the CRPF asked the Centre to allow it to keep one company in reserve in every battalion so that it could be spared for the two-month training. On a rotational basis, it would take a year and two months to allow all the battalions to undergo the training.

With demands for deployment of more central paramilitary forces coming from Naxalism-affected states, the home ministry has assured to consider this suggestion


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