While officers criticise each other, top brass of two forces deny any problem

An alleged distrust between the Central Reserve Police Force and the Chhattisgarh Police may be coming in the way of anti-Maoist operations in the State.

A CRPF officer posted in Sukma district says the force faces problems at various levels from sharing of intelligence to execution of operations.

“There have been rare instances when movements of the CRPF were leaked from the police station,” the officer says on condition of anonymity.

“How can the Maoists be ready with ambush if they don’t know our movements in advance?” wonders a commander of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) of the CRPF.

Another senior officer says a large posse of the State police should accompany the CRPF for patrolling or operations. “But hardly we get the assistance of a man or two,” he says.

‘Superiority complex’

A senior police officer, however, says: “The CRPF personnel have a superiority complex since they are a central force, but the fact is that they are here to assist us.”

A senior CRPF officer’s riposte is that his men have a superiority complex “because they are better trained and well equipped.”

Recounting alleged instances of the CRPF’s “rude behaviour”, a former top police officer says: “When the SP of Rajnandgaon was killed in a Maoist attack, the CRPF waited for six hours for orders from their officers. In Tadmetla, when 75 CRPF jawans were killed, the CRPF based in Chintalnar refused entry to the SPOs [Special Police Officers] sent for their protection.”

“We never depend on the CRPF to carry out some special operations,” says a group leader of the SPO, now named the State Auxiliary Force. The CRPF suffers heavy casualties as it panics when trapped, he adds.

The distrust is not limited to the ground level.

When 11 CRPF men were killed in an ambush at Tahakwada in March, Inspector-General, CRPF, H.S. Siddhu publicly criticised the State police’s top brass for denying permission for an operation in the same area earlier.

Mr. Siddhu and Director-General of Police A.N. Upadhay, however, deny any problems between the two forces.

“We have good relations with the State police and if a problem arises, we discuss and solve it with the DGP,” says Mr. Siddhu.