Countering terror with sticks

Discussion in 'Internal Security' started by TrueSpirit, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. TrueSpirit

    TrueSpirit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Questionable decisions by para-military bosses in Kashmir have endangered jawans' lives, says Mayank Singh (ex-Infantry, Indian Army, NDA-passout, my college senior. He is now in Media with "The Sunday Indian")

    While India’s chattering classes wage a seemingly endless battle against corruption and its elite celebrate the country’s growth trajectory popping champagne on ice, out on the frontiers its brave men from the para-military forces are putting their lives on line in what is turning out to be a campaign which is both brave and foolhardy. Brave because they are willing to do whatever is expected from them unmindful of the costs involved, their lives included, and foolhardy because they are being asked to accomplish a job that seems impossible – countering highly motivated, trained and armed terrorists with wooden sticks that would come handier walking pets than defending the country’s sovereignty!

    “Mismanagement by senior officers, an utter lack of foresight and blatant violation of standard operating procedures (SOP) is why jawans are getting martyred in the line of duty on a daily basis in Jammu and Kashmir,’’ confides a senior officer.

    Two recent incidents typify this callous neglect in the Kashmir valley. On March 13 this year fidayeens or suicide bombers entered the Bamina area of Srinagar and mowed at will CRPF jawans who had been ordered by the state police to report in riot control gear – which constitutes essentially of a wooden stick or a lathi and a padding to cover their bodies.

    Naturally, questions are being asked. In a situation as volatile as the Kashmir valley, who in the Jammu and Kashmir police, as well as the CRPF, thought it prudent and conducive to let their men get into riot gear? What good is a riot gear when confronted with sophisticated assault rifles and improved explosive devices (IEDs)? Classified documents in possession of TSI reveal that against well laid down SOP, it is the local police which is ordering central paramilitary forces.

    The SOP lays down the bottom line: no operational strategy can be dictated by the local police and has to be made necessarily in consultation with the Inspector General of CRPF and the other paramilitary forces deployed in the region. The documents clearly establish this breach of protocol coupled with a deeply flawed analysis, essential to counter terror. Two orders were issued by the IGP Kashmir (IGPK) on February 9 and February 11 this year. In the February 9 order addressed to CRPF, the IGPK directed the induction of five CRPF counter-insurgency (CI) operation companies and five training companies at Baramulla.

    It read: “These companies shall be fully equipped with riot control gear, no personnel should carry any weapon.” Why should an IGP ask for specialist CI platoon to be armed with wooden sticks?

    More to the point, on what basis are riots in Jammu and Kashmir equated with similar disturbances in other parts of the country where the Rapid Action Force (RAF) model of deployment is in force: one third of the company in lathi, one third with tear gas shells and one third equipped with rifles?

    In the February 11 order, IGP Srinagar sent a signal to all paramilitary head quarters of the Srinagar Area, CRPF, BSF and ITBP to, “make sure that no fire arm is carried on by any law and order component.”

    The situation reports accessed by TSI and the Incident Note of the BSF makes it clear that terrorists camouflage themselves with locals and take advantage of such orders at all available instances. Not surprisingly, they successfully struck twice within a span of eight days. The life of a jawan, apparently, is so cheap that an experienced commander can take arbitrary decisions and throw SOP to the winds. The situation report and incident notes – preceded by many such earlier observations - have said that terrorists are frequently using the civil population as shield to fire on para-military forces. Says one such assessment sent by CRPF on March 29, “After completion of law and order duty at about 1915 hours left for battalion head quarters. When our troops were crossing from Macchuwa bridge towards Karawalpora, all of a sudden few people started pelting stones at our vehicle from the right side and after few seconds a round was fired from the left side. So, while stone pelters engaged the troops from the right side, terrorists used rifles from the left.’’ It adds: “Two of our constables saw a person who waved his AK 47 rifle at a group of five to six people running from the spot.’’ The BSF has a similar tale to narrate. On the March 29 incident, “at about 0730 hrs, while the vehicle in front moved closer to the Nowgam crossing, Srinagar, suspected militants suddenly opened fire on the 5-ton vehicle moving in the rear. By the time they (troops) could take position, the vehicle had moved in front of the Ahmad Hospital and militants had by then disappeared into the by lanes of thickly populated Nowgam area.’’

    In both instances, troops did not fire as the collateral damage would have been heavy and would have proved advantageous to separatists groups in rallying people to their cause. In such dangerous situations, the use of lathi or wooden sticks is nothing short of harakiri and officers on ground stand accused of blatantly jeopardising the life of ill-equipped jawans by not allotting sophisticated weapons to them. After all it in on the directives of field commanders that the fighters are willing to take huge risks and the latest orders and its subsequent impact is certain to hit the morale of troops present there.

    The Union government's Group of Ministers (GoM) on Internal Security has clearly laid down that “in operations against insurgency, militancy and terrorism, arrangements for coordination of operational planning, deployment etc., should be evolved by the senior most officers representing the central armed forces, in close consultation with the state police chief and officers of other concerned agencies.’’ In reality, it looks the other way round.

    “If the situation has really improved, then why is a highly trained force with modern weaponry being wasted in Srinagar for law and order duties which could otherwise be dealt or ought to be dealt by local police? We need officers who not just appreciate the complexities but also have the gumption to take courageous decisions. Otherwise, counter terrorism and counter insurgency will always be fought as per the whims and fancies of officers without foresight, leading to continuous loss of lives,’’ says one reliable source, who adds that in the absence of accountability, really nothing will work.

    The Ministry of Home Affairs, the controlling ministry for para-military troops in India, is at the present moment too consumed with civil society revolts to take a closer look at the borders. But the point to note is this: trouble on the frontier is as dangerous – if not more – than trouble makers squatting on central Delhi’s magnificent Rajpath.

    Countering terror with sticks - Mayank singh - The Sunday Indian
     
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  3. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    What revolt?

    Say bluntly its more occupied in diverting resources for political vendetta. China is at our doorstep and these buggers are more pre-occupied about election.

    Chu*iya
     

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