Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Government Fails

The butchering of the CRPF men in the Dantewada forests near Jagdalpur in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh is not the failure of the CRPF but of the government. The government has not only failed the Paramilitary force which was designated as India's premier anti-insurgency force a few years ago, but has failed the people who reposed trust in its grand plan to take on the Maoists. All that the CRPF has is a fancy designation as the main counter-insurgency force and a breathtaking sweep of role from Kashmir to Naxal-affected states. It has neither specialised equipment to execute its new role, nor it is an integral intelligence wing which is crucial for such operations. Even worse, it is not part of the government's grand strategy to take on the Naxals. It depends on the state police forces for operational intelligence as well as logistics. The specialised force that was culled from the CRPF to take on the Naxals, Combat Battalions for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and since been renamed as Special Action Force because certain politicians and state governments objected to this acronym. However, renaming has not changed anything. CoBRA or SAF do not even have bullet-proof jackets and helmets, let alone any other kind of specialised equipment which a special force should ideally have. Even in terms of deployment, they do the same operations as regular CRPF or the state police. Given this, what would be the morale of this force? By upping the ante against the Maoists, wasn't the home minister sending out the message that the government meant business when all it was doing was indulging in empty rhetoric. And the priced is being paid by hapless soldiers. Whose failure is it then? Where does the buck stops now?