Naxal Resistance

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Train police in jungle warfare, Jharkhand told

Posted by Indian Vanguard on November 3, 2007

NEW DELHI: With the recent upsurge in Naxalite violence in Jharkhand, including the killing of former chief minister Babulal Marandi’s son, exposing the ineffectiveness of the state police in pre-empting extremist attacks, the Centre has stepped up pressure on the state to make jungle warfare an intrinsic part of police training and deploy young personnel to take on the 20-something Naxal fighters.

A rise in local police component in counter-operations as against over-dependence on Central forces, the Union home ministry feels, would not only ensure greater success of counter-operations given the state police personnel’s knowledge of and adaptation to the local terrain, but help spare the Central forces for other theatres of insurgency/terror as well.

Though the Centre has been taking up the issue of compulsory jungle warfare training for young police officers in states affected by Naxal extremism, citing the successful case of Andhra Pradesh, several states are yet to take a call on the same.

Chattisgarh has taken the initiative and set up its own jungle warfare training unit in Raipur — College of Counter-Terrorism & Jungle Warfare. The institute offers 45-day training for police officials in dealing with harsh conditions in the jungle and taking on the Naxalites.

However, states like Jharkhand, Orissa and Bihar are yet to set up similar training facilities. The inability of Jharkhand police to ensure jungle warfare training for its police men seems to be costing the state dear: Naxalites have gunned down two prominent persons recently, MP Sunil Mahato and Mr Marandi’s son Anup Marandi, and are also killing police personnel.

The Centre, which itself is grappling with lack of actionable ground-level intelligence, has asked Jharkhand to treat as urgent its suggestion for making jungle warfare training compulsory for police personnel.

“Jharkhand should ensure that young police officials, preferably in the age group 18-25 and well-versed in jungle warfare, are deployed for counter-operations in Naxal-infested areas…the Naxalite fighters are in that age group and their agility and strength has to be matched by as young a force,” a senior Union home ministry official.

The ministry has also been prevailing upon the state to optimally use the Central forces and post young SPs in the violence-affected districts so that they can infuse young blood into local policing.

Though the MHA realises that a local jungle warfare training facility in all Naxal-hit states could take longer to materialise, it is mounting pressure on them to start training their police personnel in other states. Some of the well-known jungle warfare training schools are in Vairengte (Mizoram), Kaziranga (Assam), Raipur and Andhra Pradesh.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.s

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