The killing of 76 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday has dented the morale of their counterparts posted in several camps in Maoist-affected districts of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa, said Vijay Raman, CRPF's Special Director-General, on Friday.
“Such a large loss is a grave hit on the CRPF. Naturally, the morale of the personnel posted in other camps has been affected and it will take a little while to boost it up,” Mr. Raman told TheHindu.
However, West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh claimed there has been no negative impact on the security forces following the incident, and the CRPF and the State police forces have stepped up operations against the rebels in the region.
Mr. Singh added that the proposed second phase of inter-State joint operations among West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa will also not be affected due to the setback in Chhattisgarh. Twenty-six companies of the CRPF are deployed in three affected districts of the State.
While there has been no incident of CRPF casualty in the State so far, the Dantewada incident has led the top officials of the paramilitary force to review the operational procedure in the region and issue a renewed and strict reminder to stick to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) while conducting combing as well as area-domination operations.
The advent of summer, however, is going to make the situation difficult for the jawans. They are required to walk on foot for at least 20 km daily with a load of around 15 kg to 20 kg, including the firearm and the bag, and the rising mercury and unbearable humidity level make matters worse.
A CRPF jawan, incidentally, collapsed and died of heat and exhaustion on the very day when the forces reclaimed Lalgarh on June 20 last after a trek of more than 15 km.
Asked about the infrastructure available at the various CRPF camps in the region, Mr. Raman said though infrastructural facilities were adequate, the supply of sufficient drinking water was a matter of concern.
Meanwhile, the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee called for an indefinite bandh in the districts of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia from Friday in protest against the arrest of a village quack for his suspected role in treating Maoist leader Kishanji's bullet injury.