The government has slashed the creation of an exclusive intelligence wing in the CRPF for its troops deployed in operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East.
However,a similar snooping set-up has been approved for aiding the forces’ operations in the Naxal affected states of the country but the force is yet to operationalise the wing
more than two years after a formal sanction was granted to it.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has deployed close to 60,000 troops for anti-Naxal operations and has been wanting an exclusive intelligence wing for undertaking quality operations which result in eliminating the enemy without suffering casualties.
The force has lost about 120 personnel in ambushes,IED explosions and gunfights in the last year and the intelligence wing is expected to give a ‘fine edge’ to CRPF in averting such incidents.
According to official sources,the force has now been asked to raise the wing only for left-wing extremism (naxal) operations and leave out two other theatres where it has deployed its troops for undertaking operations and rendering security duties– Jammu and Kashmir and North East.
While in Jammu and Kashmir the force has deployed close to 69,000 personnel (69 battalions) for counter-insurgency operations and providing security to VVIPs and vital installations,in North East it has deployed 34 battalions to perform counter-insurgency and road opening duties to public and official convoys on the highways. “The snoop wing for Jammu and Kashmir and North East states may come up at a later stage as CRPF’s main role is now in anti-Naxal operations and this is where it is facing a major challenge,” a senior officer said.
The force,however,is still to operationalise the wing in Naxal hotbeds as the final approval to the wing is pending with the Finance Ministry for financial approval.
“The exclusive intelligence wing for the CRPF is absolutely essential. After it was first mooted in 2005,the unit got formal sanction in 2009. After last year’s deadly ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada where 75 men were killed by Naxals,the force fastpaced the deployment of the wing by training its men and undertaking various special courses for them on the lines of other existing snoop agencies,” sources in the Union Home Ministry said.
Successive CRPF Director Generals have underlined the need for the on-ground deployment of this unit but various issues like getting timely sanctions have held back the full-fledged roll out of the wing.
The exclusive wing will now have close to 500 personnel who will be under the ovearall command of the Additional Director General (Operations) at the forces’ headquarter in the national capital.
The government had accorded official sanction to CRPF in September 2009 to have 1,248 posts for the intelligence wing.