WITH MAOISTS increasingly using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in their operations, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has turned to the Army for lessons from its experience in J&K.
Last week, the Army trained a contingent of troopers from the CRPF’s Recruit Training Centre in Srinagar in an “IEDs sensitisation programme”, Home Ministry officials told The Indian Express.
“The CRPF personnel were shown how IEDs are planted, detected and deactivated. They were also told about equipment that helps in detecting IEDs. More such training sessions are being planned,” said an official.
According to officials, IEDs have maimed more policemen in areas affected by Left wing extremism (LWE) than in direct combat. “There were more than 900 IED attacks in LWE areas last year while this year, till October, the number has moved up to close to 1,400. A number of troops have been injured in these blasts. The CRPF recovered 21 IEDs planted by the Maoists in Chhattisgarh in October, which is more than double the recoveries made in September,” another official said.
“From the analysis of the recent IEDs attacks by Maoists, it has come to light that most of these attacks were successful due to certain lapses, including SoPs (standard operating procedure) not being followed. We are trying to teach our personnel to be alert, particularly during troop movement. Any unusual activity or movement should ring alarm bells,” the official said.
According to a 2016 report by the National Bomb Data Centre of the National Security Guard (NSG), 65 per cent of IED blast casualties across the country occurred in LWE-affected areas. According to the report, there were 337 IED blasts in India in 2016 — up from 268 in 2015, 190 in 2014 and 283 in 2013. It was, however, lower than the 365 IED blasts in 2012.
IED incidents in Chhattisgarh increased by 50 per cent and Andhra Pradesh saw a five-fold increase over 2015. Odisha witnessed an almost 100 per cent jump in IED incidents from 15 blasts in 2015 to 29 blasts in 2016, according to the report.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh has repeatedly said that Maoist violence is under control. Last month, while addressing troops of the Rapid Action Force in Lucknow, he said, “Naxals will be wiped out within three years. The Maoist violence has come down drastically.”