TAMIL NADU

Be sincere, CRPF constables told

CHENNAI, FEB. 26. They jogged sixteen kilometres at a stretch every morning for several weeks. They were sent to inhospitable terrains, left alone to fend for themselves. And for the past few months, the trainees practised hard to get their timing and rhythm right. The efforts were rewarded when they gave an impressive display of drill and march-past.

They were the 590 trainee-constables who passed out today from the 142nd battalion of the Central Rerserve Police Force (CRPF) at Avadi.

The city police commissioner, R. Nataraj, who reviewed the guard of honour and marchpast, described them as "excellent and outstanding."

Addressing the constables, Mr. Nataraj said impartiality was one of the greatest strengths of the force and appealed to them to be sincere while executing the task given to them. The force was also known for its mobility and dependability. The CRPF, he said, was increasing its strength to replace Border Security Force battalions in the sensitive areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur. Soon, the CRPF would have 200 battalions, making it the largest para-military force in the world, he said.

It was possibly the best moment of his life for S. Karthik when he marched to receive the trophy for the best all-round trainee. Son of a washerman in the CRPF and a resident of Avadi, Karthik says he grew up watching the constables in action for many years now.

Jagan Kumar of Kovilpatti won the best shooter award. "I owe this achievement to my `ustaads' (instructors)," he said. Nine months ago, he could not speak a word in Hindi. Today, he speaks the language fluently as he spent his time in the barracks interacting with trainees from 16 States. Rajeev Ranjan Kumar of Haryana and Sunil Yadav of Bihar won the best indoor and outdoor trainee award respectively.

They were trained in operating weapons, including .22 mm rifle, 7.62 mm self-loading rifle, light machine guns, a 5.56 Insas rifle and AK-47 and carbine guns, apart from a host of other aspects such as counter-insurgency operations, riot control and VIP security. Now that the training is over, the constables are likely to be posted anywhere in the country, mostly in the border areas, where insurgency is a menace.

P.J. Shetty, Inspector-General, Southern sector, and George Francis, Additional Deputy Inspector-General of CPRF, Avadi, took part.