President of Patriots Forum, D.C. Nath was superannuated in January, 1995, as the Special Director, Intelligence Bureau, D.C. Nath (IPS-1960) was associated with the International Institute of Security and Safety Management (IISSM), headquartered in New Delhi, for over 14 years, first as the Executive President & CEO and then as the President & Director General, between February, 1997 and March, 2011. The author of a highly acclaimed book, Intelligence Imperatives for India, Mr. Nath earned high plaudits from all around for two of his very significant presentations on: “Revisiting the Future of India” (2005, London) and “Lessons from India for the War On Terrorism” (2007, USA). He is the only one in the field, combining the experiences of a police officer with specialization in intelligence and strategic analysis and an industrial security expert par excellence. More Bio on D. C. Nath…
February 11, 2015
Subject: Big Worry About India’s Internal Security Mechanism—CRPF
National security is a business of all of us. Here, we have a report depicting how bad is the situation in the country’s (world’s) largest internal security force, namely, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) of the government of India. This is apparently from a report compiled on the subject officially in September, 2014. Links to that report has been indicated. This mail has become longish. Those not interested in the subject, may perhaps like to skip it altogether.
Some of the stark facts are:
· The guerrilla warfare in the Red zone is killing more soldiers than all insurgent areas put together, says an official data of the Union home ministry.
· Death is more likely to befall a soldier fighting Maoists deep inside jungles than a security personnel taking on militants in Jammu and Kashmir or insurgents in the Northeast.
The current attrition in this great force rate is 62 per cent. “On average, the force saw almost 20 exits a day in 2014, as 6,700 personnel prematurely hung up their uniforms. It marked a sharp increase from 2013, when 4,186 personnel had quit.”
On the issue of high stress level, the report of September 2014 says:
· The CRPF report on high stress levels due to tough working conditions was submitted to the home ministry in September 2014. It said that the CRPF personnel are not able to fulfil social obligations like attending marriages, deaths and other ceremonies in the immediate family and society.
· “This creates a sense of isolation, hampers proper matrimonial alliances and ostracises them from society. The constant separation from family only compounds the problem,” it said.
· It also said that the poor living conditions make the personnel vulnerable to diseases and behavioural issues. Sources say continuous operations in the Maoist zone and casualties in the past few years are primary factors behind the attrition.
We wonder whether the government is serious enough or has the time to ponder over the issue at the proper level or with whatever resources we have in the country. For example, has any of the experts in behavioural science, available in the Management Schools or otherwise, been tasked to study possible remedial measures? We do not need foreign experts, for which money will be available straightaway.
The simple commonsense approach suggests only lectures on motivation will not do. Some thing more concrete like days in difficult areas must be reduced and proper rotation roster be maintained, both among seniors and other ranks. We are certain these are still in existence. We used to hear CRPF meant “Sada chalte raho pyare.”
Well, we are nobody to advise on this. There are a number of seasoned retired senior officers from the CRPF, who would love to take over such task. One thing is certain. Only cosmetic measures will not do. It is not the difficulties but the conditions of living while on duty at some god-forsaken place, where you contract diseases, at times become invalid, when on top of that you get a very unsympathetic boss, you lose balance of mind and go to shoot down the boss as well. A lower rung man in CRPF, when enquired, frankly stated that it was the lack of trust and empathy between the juniors and their supervisors in the field that leads to cases like suicide or at times to fratricide. Well, these are things that can be tackled/controlled.
But, let us not compare the situation with that in the corporate world. Some people has point out that the attrition rate in the IT industry is as high as 7 percent. Well, there it is a question of making choice when you have so many options. It is not so here. The choices are not many, particularly when you had either sold your land or borrowed money to bribe the concerned in order to secure the job.
We remember some years back we had, after a massive Maoist attach on the CRPF, written, hinting at the possibility of an internal revolt raising its head, especially in the CRPF in this situation. The conditions of their barracks even in cities, much less to speak about the camps in the field are also not very much better. As all Police Commissions/Committees (fortunately, we had the privilege of belonging to one) have since the first one in 1901 uniformly pointed out, these are much worse than those provided for the criminals whom the policemen arrest.
Some humour for a break! We are aware of a ‘criminal’ (not a habitual criminal as known in the police), who will commit a crime no sooner he has been released from the jail for the simple reason he gets a decent shelter and two square meals that he could not manage while outside. Well, it is not a fiction but a downright practical case. We are sure enquiries will reveal many more such cases. Well, what moral do we derive from this case?
So, time may have come when we all take these “stories” to the countrymen as also to the all powerful media to tell about this to the larger audience.
Getting to the point where we had left it, realities are such, one will need to keep fingers crossed. In the professional Top Cop group, some one advised not to bother over press reports when the problem was not as bad as what the press marked out of it. With due respect to his wisdom and views, the problem is, as we have seen, not originated in the press but, as explained in the beginning. The overall picture presented is from an official report submitted to the government in September, 2014. It is even possible that the actual problem is much worse than what has come in the report. And, the same report says, the comparative situation in the other central paramilitary forces is showing signs of improvement in attrition rates in those forces.
Let this also be noted here that the “pride” of place in the list of those who lost their lives every year when the names are read on the occasion of the Police Commemoration Day (October 21) is invariably occupied by the CRPF martyrs. How many people in the country are aware of this? And what do the governments do to remember them? In some States, a little enthusiastic police brings out a quarter-page advertisement in the press. So, as true martyrs, they go unsung and unmourned by the country. Though comparison is always odious, one should have no problem to admit that the sacrifice made by such serving policemen is no less than that made by the army men and jawans. The latter join the force to lay down their lives in defence of the motherland, the former (the forlorn policemen) join the profession to serve the country. We know we are raising the hornest’s nest but we honestly felt the countrymen must know the facts.
Be that as it may, it has to be understood very clearly that no amount of cosmetic changes will do. A sincere senior officer will know where the shoe pinches. Some degree of interaction with a section of junior/middle level functionary will help.
Since we had started the paper talking about the Maoist threat, it may not be totally out of context to point out that though the Maoist threat mattered and still matters, the situation presented here does not speak well of those in charge of the tackling this threat. Any security analyst will tell that notwithstanding the former Prime Minister’ gaffe, the Maoist problem is not the biggest internal security threat before the internal security authorities. That place of honour must go to SIMI and its newer cousins raising their heads but remaining unidentified. The Maoist threat, though important, is a threat that stands identified since long. If a centralised national consensus is developed and the police is given a clear and unambiguous political clearance and lent some army back-up, especially in the shape of air-cover when necessary, and followed up with necessary socio-economic measures, the Maoist problem can be very well controlled, if not eradicated more or less permanently. At least, that had been the consensus among senior police officers about 25-30 years back.
Yes, it has now become more complicated and tough because of the Maoists having grown in professional stature much more, particularly technologically and with electronic skill of present day world day, the level of ideological motivation noticed among their forerunners is, it is believed, missing among the present followers. It is now exploitation fighting another kind of exploitation by a combination of greedy corporate and corrupt administration led perhaps by the district police.
Well, this has indeed become a big note, not all intended. Kindly forgive us for taxing your patience, especially so when we have spoken all through as an outsider. ‘Will beg to be excused if we have in the process, made some bloomers. Pointing those out will be an education for us.
Thanking you and with regards,
(Former Spl. Director, IB)
(President, Patriots’ Forum)
Source: Patriot Forum
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