On 8 January, a group of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel walked into a deadly ambush in Jharkhand’s Latehar district, while trailing a 150 to 200 strong Maoist squad. The ambush left 13 jawans dead. As if the killings were not brutal enough, the Maoists inserted Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) into the corpses of the jawans. The IEDs exploded later, killing four villagers who had gone to collect the bodies under instructions from the security personnel. That the brutality shows the growing desperation of the CPI (Maoist) was one of the most heard statements after the attack.
Less than two weeks after the incident, 13 CRPF jawans were grievously injured in a landmine blast in Bokaro district, Jharkhand. In response to the setback, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is coming up with a new blueprint to combat Left-wing extremism. The plan, it seems, is geared more towards using force rather than some well though-out strategy.
After the Latehar attack, the MHA is seriously considering the deployment of 10,000 more CRPF personnel to fight the Maoists. It was in October 2012 that this move was first proposed. This would mean that 75,000 CRPF personnel, along with state police, SPOs and other paramilitary forces like the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Indo- Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), would fight “the biggest internal security threat”. “These are not untrained men who are being sent to the jungles. CRPF jawans are extensively trained… I would definitely welcome deployment of forces as it would increase our strength,” says Pankaj Kumar Singh, Inspector General of Police (Operations), CRPF.
Apart from increasing the number of security forces, the MHA is considering the creation of new counter-insurgency force in all the Naxal-affected states on the lines of the Greyhounds — the highly effective anti-insurgency forces set up in Andhra Pradesh. There is also a proposal to pump in funds to the tune of Rs 280 crore during the 12th FiveYear Plan period for managing these forces.