HOMELAND SECURITY: Terror tackle tips for state cops

HOMELAND SECURITY: Terror tackle tips for state cops – anything for the GLP or Ex-Gorkha Servicemen can  do the job ?!!

Lt Gen DS Sidhu shakes hand with a trainee officer of the Bengal police during the training session (Photo by Army Live)


ARMY LIVE, May 20, 2010: The Kripan Division is conducting sessions for the West Bengal police personnel to train them in counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations.

Four batches of armed personnel have already completed their training successfully and have returned to headquarters.

A team of experienced instructors from the infantry units of the Kripan Division is involved in training the policemen to improve their tactical and combat skills.

Patrol contest

A Gorkha Regiment of the Trishakti Corps won the Army Cambrian Patrol Trials at Belgaum in Karnataka and will now be representing the Indian Army in Nato Army Cambrian Patrol competition on October in Wales, UK.

Bicycle trek

A cycling-cum-trekking expedition was organised by the Forefirst Battalion from March 27 to April 9.

The rally was flagged off by Maj. Gen. R.S. Chopra, GOC Black Cat Division, at Gangtok. It was flagged in by Brigadier Bipin Bakshi, Commander, Watershed Brigade.

During the expedition, the participants passed through various places in Sikkim like Sherwani, Tarku, Rabangla, Yuksom, Pemeyangtse, Jorethang, Teesta and Pedong, covering a distance of 323km both on cycle and on foot.

Health camps were held at Temi, Arithang and Legship where around 2,000 people were provided with free treatment and medicines.

Ex-soldiers’ rally

The Watershed Brigade organised a rally for ex-servicemen and Veer Naris on April 10 at the Pedong Military Station.

Around 150 ex-servicemen and Veer Naris along with their families from Pedong, Algarah, Dalapchand and Rhenock attended the programme. The Veer Naris were felicitated.


Maoists draw CRPF first blood – Officer and four others blown up – will Bengal and the ‘Chidambaram Team’ never learn that violence begets yet more violence, only solution is to tackle ‘ideology’ from within, defensively ?!!

A jeep blown up by Maoists. (Photo by Samir Mondal)


Goaltore (West Midnapore), May 19: The CRPF has suffered its first casualties in Bengal in a Maoist attack in daylight.

Five CRPF personnel, including a deputy commandant who had served in Kashmir and reached Bengal four days ago, were killed in a landmine attack near Lalgarh this morning.

The Maoists blew up a Bolero carrying six CRPF personnel about 15km from Lalgarh in West Midnapore on the last day of a two-day bandh called by the rebels in five states.

The squad, although led by the officer with field experience in Kashmir, appears to have committed the cardinal mistake of returning by the same route after visiting camps in the area. Sources said the time — a little before noon — could have emboldened the group to overlook the drill.

The five CRPF personnel have been identified as deputy commandant Vijay Pal Singh, 40; driver Rakesh Kumar, 32; and constables B.L. Santra, 43; D.K. Samanta, 40; and D. Ramesh, 25. A constable in his mid-thirties, Nabakumar Ghosh, was injured.

This is the first time CRPF personnel have been killed in a rebel strike in the Maoist belt of Bengal. Two CRPF personnel died after joint forces were deployed in Lalgarh in June last year but one fell to sunstroke and the other is suspected to have committed suicide.

Around 11.30 this morning, the CRPF jeep reached a place about 3km from its Kadashole camp when an explosion tossed the vehicle several feet above the ground and hurled the twisted remains about 15 metres away into a field. The blast punched a two-foot-deep crater in the road.

After the blast, Maoist guerrillas fired a few rounds at the vehicle before disappearing into the Chowkishal forest. The shots suggest that the rebels were waiting nearby to detonate the mine with surgical precision.

Today’s strike is the biggest blow to security forces posted in the state to combat Maoists since the attack on the Eastern Frontier Rifles camp in Shilda on February 15 this year in which 24 personnel were massacred.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, responding to a viewer’s question on a television channel, said: “There is no necessity for deployment of the army to tackle the Maoists here.”

He stressed on three factors: the operation of the joint forces will continue, development measures will be taken in tribal-dominated areas and awareness will be created among the people against the Maoists.

Deputy commandant Singh and the injured constable were initially taken in an ambulance to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital from where they were referred to Calcutta. A BSF helicopter flew them to the city this evening and they were admitted to a private hospital but Singh, bandaged from top to toe, succumbed to injuries.

“Even last night, the deputy commandant had accompanied me on a raid against Maoists. He had just arrived a few days ago but was learning fast,” Manoj Verma, district superintendent of police, said.

Sources said Singh had been visiting the CRPF camps in the Maoist-hit areas to familiarise himself with the personnel and the terrain.

“Today, he (Singh) had gone out in his Bolero from Goaltore to visit the CRPF camps at Ramgarh and Kadashole. He was returning to Goaltore along the same way. It appears that the Maoists saw him go towards Ramgarh and knew he would be returning along the same way. So, the rebels took the opportunity to trigger the explosive,” said a police officer.

The Bolero had left Ramgarh for the Kadashole camp around 11.15am and was travelling towards the Kadashole camp along a road lined with dense forest.

“The explosion took place right under the driver. It was very accurately triggered. The improvised explosive device was planted in the road and covered with gravel. So, it was not visible from a distance. We found about 350 metres of electrical wire from the side of the road snaking into the forest,” said a police officer.

A motorcyclist who rode up a few minutes later alerted the CRPF camp at Kadashole, about 3km away.

Aim: strike fear in troops – cannot if they are not mobile, use airlifts ?!!


New Delhi, May 19: The wave of Maoist attacks on security forces since February this year has been so brutal and so sweeping in its breadth that the rebels’ “Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign” (TCOC) is making the Centre and the states pause and ponder.

For nearly a month now, aggressive patrolling and raids by state and central security forces on the ground in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have become infrequent.

In Chhattisgarh, particularly, there have been instances of CRPF troopers refusing to stir out of their camps after the Mukram killings of April 6.

Today’s attack in Kadashole, the village near Lalgarh where Maoists and the CRPF were engaged in a firefight outside a jungle as the security forces sought to encircle the zone in June last year, also emphasises that the rebels are demonstrating an ability to strike in areas that have apparently been cleared.

The Telegraph had reported on February 16 that the Maoists had launched their latest TCOC — with the attack on the Shilda Eastern Frontier Rifles camp — and a spurt in violence was inevitable.

From Shilda downwards, Trail of Blood - but can also very well move up the Chickens Neck and Siliguri Corridor

Since then the attacks have swung from the north of the Eastern Ghats to the western borders of Chhattisgarh with Maharashtra, cutting a swathe through western Orissa. (See map)

The attrition rate among security forces in the last 95 days of the TCOC is more than one per day — unacceptable to any conventional military outfit in any war. Not only that, the victims of the Maoists have included a variety of security personnel — state and central forces plus quasi-official units like the special police of the Koya commandos recruited from the vigilante Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh.

In none of these attacks have the security forces, despite the determination shown by leaders at the Centre and in the states, demonstrated the ability to recover and hit back with force, violating a cardinal principle of counter-insurgency operations — never to lose contact with the adversary.

“Yes, as of now, the Maoists do indeed have the upper hand. The weak is striking at the strong because the state forces cannot be equally strong in all places,” admits Brigadier B.K. Ponwar, who heads the Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in Kanker, Chhattisgarh.

The level of disruption caused by the Maoists’ TCOC is also unmatched by the multiple insurgencies in the Northeast and the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. For the two-day strike called by the CPI (Maoist), for instance, the railways have had to cancel/reschedule several trains.

All this paints a misleading picture of advancing Maoist forces. The reality is quite the opposite. The Maoists’ TCOC, security experts believe, is a posture in aggressive defence. In their official documents, too, the Maoists call the current phase in their guerrilla war a period of “strategic defence”.

“In Andhra Pradesh, it took 10 years for the police to gain the upper hand and 15 years to clear the Maoists from all but Khammam and Visakhapatnam,” says P.V. Ramana, researcher at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis. “By targeting security forces, they are trying to strike fear among the troops.”

Some of that has worked in places like Mukram/Chintalnaar and also after Monday’s blasting of a busload of SPOs and civilians near Sukma in Dantewada. Both, the CRPF on April 6 and the SPOs on May 17, were too shell-shocked to chase and inflict substantial casualties on the rebels after being ambushed.

In Shilda, the EFR camp was overrun and that attack provoked the chief of the force to blame superior officers, demonstrating a lack of co-ordination in the administration.

The wave of attacks by the Maoists will necessarily force the police to organise their own security first, and thereby consume more manpower, before they are able to implement the Centre’s mandate to provide security to civilians.

In the security establishment, there is a consensus that more attacks are possible — the Maoists have threatened them in repeated media statements — and on the rebel’s access to firepower.

An exact estimate is well-nigh impossible, but two instances can give an idea of how the Maoist arsenal is stocked. In the April 6 Mukram killings, the Maoists stripped the CRPF of 76 automatic rifles and two 2-inch mortars, enough, says Brigadier Ponwar, “to start an insurgency”.

Needless to say, there have been armoury raids before and after that incident.

Second, the Maoists’ weapon of choice has been the improvised explosive device (IED), indicating that they have magazine loads of ammonium nitrate, gelatine sticks and detonators.

The devices are also proving to be increasingly lethal. Just to illustrate — 20,000 tonnes of explosives can be used to make 2,000 IEDs of 10kg each. A 10kg IED used effectively can blow up a vehicle capable of carrying up to 10 passengers.


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