The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Tuesday suspended the Assistant Commandant Jayan Vishwanath, who was on spot and who led the team during encounter, citing “failure of leadership”. The police force also transferred commanding officer of the 74th battalion, Commandant Firoze Kuzur, according to the news agency ANI.
This comes nearly a month after Naxals had attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) unit in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, an incident in which 25 jawans died.
“The suspension was carried out following receipt of a preliminary report about shortcomings that might have led to the massacre”, a CRPF official was quoted as saying by PTI. The official added that other transfers were ‘routine’.
The deceased jawans belonged to the ‘Delta’ company of the 74th Central Reserve Police Force. They were deployed in the Naxal zones between Burkapal and Chintagufa in Sukma district, an area worst hit by Naxalism.
In two recent attacks, 37 troopers have been killed in Naxal ambush. Following these incidents, the force has tried making amends and has transferred at least six Commandants and a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) posted in the Bastar region. They have been replaced by officers serving in other parts of the country.
According to PTI, disciplinary action could be taken against by CRPF against some more officers under the directions of the Union Home Ministry. The CRPF had recently submitted a report on the ambush to the Home Ministry. Newly appointed CRPF Director General RR Bhatnagar has reportedly even asked for a “complete overhaul” of the battalions deployed for anti-Naxal operations in Bastar.
According to CRPF, its preliminary inquiry has found an “apparent lack of leadership on the part of the company commander in effectively dealing with the attack and directing the rest of the men to effectively retaliate”. CPRF believe that the attack was launched by about 150-200 Naxals.
“These actions have been taken based on preliminary findings. Once the ongoing Court of Inquiry concludes, it will bring out the clear picture,” a senior official was quoted as saying by PTI.