New Delhi: Across several CRPF camps in Maoist-infested Bihar and Jharkhand, groups of trained commandos are spending their days as gardeners and sentries.
Their commanders have lost trust in them after they – a group of 59 rookies from the elite Combat Battalion for Resolute Action – “deserted” the force in February while returning from a six-month training stint in Srinagar.
Apparently homesick, they had slipped off a train ferrying them to Bihar for deployment in Maoist zones and gone home.”The top brass have serious doubts about their credentials and attitude, so they haven’t been deployed in Maoist belts – the job for which they were trained. A lot of money was spent on their specialised training,” a senior CRPF official posted in Delhi reportedly told a newsman.
Personnel going AWOL (absent without official leave) en masse, had never happened before, and had left the force stunned at a time when two other jawans had already embarrassed it by posting social media videos highlighting poor food and working conditions.
A week after the “desertion”, all the young commandos returned to their unit and told their bosses they had decided on their own to go home as they were physically exhausted and homesick. They also complained about the poor conditions at the Srinagar camps.
“Ours is a disciplined force and the 59 commandos are under close supervision. How can they be deployed in sensitive zones to fight Maoists given their past record? They are facing serious credibility issues,” the official said.
Sources in the Union home ministry, to which the CRPF reports, said a court of inquiry was still under way against the 59 and a final decision would be taken on their possible deployment only after examining the report.