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Updated: May 31, 2013 14:18 IST

Police dismantle big camp in Sukma

Suvojit Bagchi
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Within 72 hours of Saturday night’s devastating Maoist strike, Chhattisgarh police have removed one of their biggest camps from Minapa in Sukma district, located deep inside the forest, possibly fearing another attack. File photo
PTI Within 72 hours of Saturday night’s devastating Maoist strike, Chhattisgarh police have removed one of their biggest camps from Minapa in Sukma district, located deep inside the forest, possibly fearing another attack. File photo

Questions surface about the wisdom of setting it up

Within 72 hours of Saturday night’s devastating Maoist strike, Chhattisgarh police have removed one of their biggest camps, from Minapa in Sukma district, located deep inside the forest, possibly fearing another attack. The camp was removed lock, stock, and barrel on Tuesday, 15 days after it was set up. Reportedly, it housed a thousand personnel.

Till last week, police officers were talking about the camp as a major strategic advance in the direction of the Andhra Pradesh border. But repeated firing by rebels on the camp had clearly put the police on the back foot.

Constables and junior officers on the ground believe that the Minapa camp, 50 km south of Sukma, had a vital link to the Darbha attack on Saturday, which saw the death of 27 Congress workers and leaders. “All attention was focussed on reaching supplies and facilities to Minapa,” said one officer.

Sources said the camp was a fine example of “horrendous planning.” It was set up even as the monsoon was approaching. “The camp should have been set up in October or November, so that it would have been well-established by the time the monsoon arrived,” said a constable.

The camp lacked even basic facilities such as toilets. There were no shade-trees to give cover — from rain, heat or stray firing. Personnel were spending their nights virtually in the open in an area largely controlled by Maoists.

Some constables told The Hindu that casualties were growing. “They went out to defecate and got shot. One died of bullet injuries and another got shot. One died of snake bite; there was no anti-venom available,” said one of them.

Constables alleged they were virtually left in the jungle to rot and die. “We were left in an open space, in the forest, in temperatures above 47 degrees, and told to set up facilities, to defend ourselves and go on the offensive. This was absurd,” said one.

Moreover, some of them were brought from the plains of Chhattisgarh. They had limited knowledge of the terrain and often suffered from dehydration. One officer said the camp was intended to be in place only for 15 to 20 days. “It was an experiment carried out to place an additional camp in the Maoist hotbed for two weeks during the Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) of the Maoists, so that we can engage them while they are busy planning,” he said. But the Maoist TCOC continues.

Director General of Police Ram Niwas defended the camp project. “We clearly achieved what we wanted to achieve. The Maoists were pushed back [during the TCOC],” he said.

Mr. Niwas was not ready to accept the views put forward by the constables. “There are officers with decades of experience who designed the plan and worked on it, and we achieved our target. If constables start finalising plans, how are we going to operate?”

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The apathy of seniors towards their juniors is spread across india.
Even in jobs, where majority of managers milk money and let the ground
level workers sweat for meager salary.

Why can't the seniors take advice and actually train their subordinates
to survive and build camps in such locations.. or something else? Why do
they have to ignore their concerns?

from:  Karthik
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 15:05 IST

one of the heinous remark by higher officials on the subordinates... Life is life after all , why a lower rank officer should suffer at the decision of a higher official who is incapable of bringing any substantial change for its department as well as for society as whole.

Absolutely shame..!!! It's even more shame to even feel pity...!!

from:  tejashri
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 12:33 IST

after reading this article, felt like India is at war in some foreign
territory. Push army and cleanse the area once it for all.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 12:15 IST


What sort of a plan is it without understanding the ground realities? The DGP should lead from the front. The life of a constable is not precious. It is necessary to expose every police officer to the working conditions of a police constable as a training programme.

from:  A.RAJAMOHAN
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 12:12 IST

“It was an experiment carried out to place an additional camp in the Maoist hotbed for two weeks during the Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) of the Maoists, so that we can engage them while they are busy planning,”

Experiment?? I would commend any officer who would take on themselves to live in the frontline and then comment. Constable's lives are to be "experimented" with?? This is absurd and each justification shows the incapability of the "officers" to safeguard their men! This is a blow to the morale and self esteem of the jawans. I praise their courage in times of risk! Jai Jawan!

from:  Thomas
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 12:05 IST

Instead of sending police into the forest, we should protect our borders and stop smuggling of arms and ammunition.
The Maoist are not growing arms in the jungle, the arms are being supplied from the outside. The political class will have to give up its control of police to stop the smuggling of arms to maoits.

It is time for police reforms.

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 11:53 IST

The whole issue is to be understood from marxist perspective. the feudal lords in various masks like politicians, business mags, bureaucrats., are against the proletariat working class like tribals and small empoyess ( ex. constables ). they have no concern for the people or employess, they got to do with their business.even naxalites should understand that that the small empolyees like constables are also workers who are beeen exploited by their superiors.
The most precious thing on this earth is life, no one should on one or other pretext should take life of others. at least now the salwa judum must be abolished and peace procees must be starterd.

from:  kalyan
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 11:30 IST

No wonder the ruling classes and the elite personalities like the DGP
has so-much contempt and disregard for the lives of ordinary constables
who are used as cannon-fodder -- what needs to be dealt with at
political level by administration and the politicians has been
converted to a police-paramilitary operation with utter disregard for
the lives of tribals and jawans/constables.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 10:47 IST

DGP statement is totally unwarranted and shows the negligent behaviour
of top officials towards the security of the foot soldiers. its a well
known fact and procedure that when you are setting a camp in the
hostile environment, the first thing is to secure the area and secure
the supply line, but as mentioned in the report both things were
missing. this whole idea was strategically wrong but at least they
save their faces since no untoward incidents i.e. ambush happened
during the period. i wonder where goes the experience of top official
in planning this mission which definitely was ill conceived and poorly
executed.

from:  Setu Sagar
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 10:42 IST

What an horrendous remark from a DGP "If constables start finalising
plans, how are we going to operate?" The safety of the police force
should be the prime concern to the entire police body, irrespective of
the ranks. How can they expect the police constables to perform their
duties diligently when their own life is at stake! And then they say,
Ah, lowers ranks are most corrupted!! Atrocious Remark. Highly condemn
able.

from:  Deepika
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 09:44 IST

Since Congress politicians are involved causing death and injury in the Maoist menace politicians are firm in attacking Maoists. this should not harm innocent people. Why Maoists are backward is to be investigated first and remedial measures taken.

from:  B S GANESH
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 08:15 IST

What a stupid project to control Naxalites/Maosts attacks? Minapa camp is a total waste of money without providing adequate military supplies or training to the constables. Are the constables in state police trained like the soldiers of the army for military operations? While the police says it was a success, they admit that the Naxalites have retreated. Retreat of Naxalites is not a victory for the police. The Naxalites are still there and they plan and wait for the next attack at a place and time at their discretion. The police closed down the camp because of threat of the Naxalite attack. If the police is scared of the Naxalite attack, what about the ordinary citizens? At present, Naxalites is the most important security risk to India than the border problems. Is the police of the states competent for any military operations? When will the Indian military be used to eradicate the Naxalites/Maoists?

from:  Davis K. Thanjan
Posted on: May 31, 2013 at 00:11 IST
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