Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CRPF wants own intelligence wing to fight Maoists

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) The paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Monday reiterated its demand for setting up its own intelligence wing to combat Maoist rebels in the worst affected states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

We have been long demanding our own separate intelligence wing. The proposal has been sent to the ministry of home affairs but no decision has been taken so far, CRPF Director General V.K. Joshi told reporters here.

For naxal (Maoist) operations, we have largely been depending on the state police and their intelligence wing. In Jharkhand, we had a series of successful anti-Maoist operations due to strong intelligence. But it is not the same in Chhattisgarh, Joshi said Monday, addressing his first press conference after taking over from his predecessor S.I.S. Ahmed earlier this month.

The CRPF chief said: The proposal is lingering in the ministry and we want it to be approved at the earliest.

According to the ministry of home affairs, 76 districts in nine states - Andhra Pradesh (16), Jharkhand (16), Bihar (14), Orissa (9), Chhattisgarh (8), Maharashtra (4) and three each in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal - are the worst affected by the Maoist menace.

As many as 236 security personnel have lost their lives in clashes with Maoist guerrillas in 2007, while the figure was 157 in 2006 and 153 in 2005.

"We always claim that state governments and the CRPF work hand-in-hand to fight Maoists. But in reality, there is a lack of coordination among the security personnel and the states' intelligence wing," A top CPRF official told IANS, requesting not to be named.

For better functioning, we had sent a proposal (for a new intelligence system) of 1,250 posts to the home ministry in 2005. The administrative department cleared it, but the finance ministry rejected it after a year. They said there was no need of a parallel system as states already have an intelligence mechanism, the official said.

He said the proposal was reworked and sent to the home ministry again last year. We have been sending them reminders, but no communication has come from them.

The official added: The ground situation is different in each state. The state police focus on gathering micro intelligence, but tackling Maoists needs information at the macro level.

The CRPF, which is responsible for maintaining security, has 201 battalions with 260,000 troopers and officials.

The force has deployed 72 battalions, around 40 percent of the force, to quell insurgency and maintain law and order in Jammu and Kashmir, while over 35 battalions are in Maoist-affected states like Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Orissa.

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