Home Ministry, State government, CRPF "all responsible" for violating SOPs
Last month's massacre of 76 Central and State police personnel in Chhattisgarh was the result of multiple long-term failures of the State and Central governments, an official investigation by the former Border Security Force Director-General, E.N. Ram Mohan, has held.
In a thorough-going review of the structural flaws that led to the near-annihilation of an entire company of the Central Reserve Police Force's 62 Battalion, Mr. Ram Mohan has said the Union Home Ministry, the Chhattisgarh government and the organisation “are all responsible for not following directions laid down in the standard operating procedures.”
On Friday, Central Reserve Police Force Director-General Vikram Srivastava announced that three officers linked to its counter-Maoist operations in Dantewada were being transferred out for “certain acts of omission and commission.” The Ram Mohan report, however, assigns little blame to these officers, pointing instead to a wider crisis of capacity and leadership.
Notably, the report charges the 62 Battalion with executing its instructions “in a casual manner.” Battalion deputy-commandant Satyawan Yadav, it states, ignored orders to operate in a sweeping arc through the forests, and instead moved back and forth on a single track leading from its post at Chintalnar to the village of Mukhram. His decision, the reports asserts, “was suicidal.” This conduct, it argues, was symptomatic of poor leadership resources in the CRPF.
Part of the reason for the 62 Battalion's behaviour may have been that the conditions at its Chintalnar camp may have sapped its personnel's energy. The report states the camp “had no defensible perimeter; moreover, “accommodation was dilapidated.”
In his operational recommendations, Mr. Ram Mohan has called for the CRPF and the State police to work together as a “coordinated team.” The report also calls for the creation of a dedicated engineering unit to provide logistical facilities at CRPF bases.