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Naxals know they'll win at will; so they kill
MAYANK SINGH | Issue Dated: April 1, 2007
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WHEN THE STATE CEDES On the intervening night of 14 and 15 March, about 200 armed Naxals swooped on a police camp in Dantewada district in South Bastar. The policemen were like always, unprepared and scared. For three hours, some of the policemen and the Special Police Officers (SPOs) kept fighting. They even dashed off an SMS to colleagues in a police camp eight kilometres away. No one came to help. Fifty-four people were massacred, 38 of them SPOs. It's the story of the SPOs that makes it particularly poignant. As the source of conflict of naxals is the government, the obvious targets are government sponsored members of Salva Judum (in Chhattisgarh) and SPOs. Said retired CRPF DG J.K. Sinha to TSI, “The attack was a message to both the SPOs and the police.” The incapacity of the SPOs to handle such situations, however, lies somewhere else.

Maoist Mess

200 Naxals attack Bastar police camp at 2am

54 die, including 38 SPOs

Chhattisgarh needs at least 5,800 more policemen

SPOs need to be armed

Arms need to be modernised

There is a huge gap between the situational demands and the real situation. One of the major problems is the disparity between the strength of personnel required and the available force. The sanctioned strength of police in Chhattisgarh is 29,000, leaving the State with a deficiency of around 5,800 personnel – a ratio of 92 policemen per lakh. Then there is unavailability of arms and the ones which are available are outdated. According to reliable sources, the number of SLRs given to the forces can be counted on fingertips. Said security analyst Ajai Sahni to TSI, “Security has always been the last concern. We are paying a price for this and even though the folly has been realised now, it will take time to get corrected.” The police and SPOs are left to fend for themselves in unsurveyed dense jungles of Abhujmad in Chhattisgarh. With lack of training in defence and survival, these jungles are good enough to take a toll on unskilled strangers, forget about a planned attack. Before, we lose anymore of our helpless forces, it is time to act. Fast.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017