The CRPF will be soon dead

By at 8 July, 2010, 10:05 pm

“Joining CRPF was the biggest mistake of my life. I have realized that the country doesn’t honor its soldiers and it is better to take voluntary retirement after 20 years of service than to be treated as a pawn” says an anonymous CRPF jawan. His opinion reflects the thoughts of thousands of CRPF jawans who have been treated worse than a cattle both by the state and their departments.

Most of the soldiers in the paramilitary forces like Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have lost their faith in the system and think they are being used as scape goats by government in war against the Naxals.

Compared to the army, the paramilitary forces have more to lose than to gain. The job benefits are very low in comparison to the army whereas the chances of death on duty are considerably high.

If we examine the current situation of CRPF, we find that their disillusionment may be justified on various grounds. The problem needs to be seen in context of two major issues :-

1. On-duty deaths

2. Voluntary Retirement Schemes

On-duty deaths

Insurgency is undoubtedly one of the biggest problems in the country. The force is mostly deployed in Naxal effected areas over the last 5 years and has been witnessing the game of life and death everyday. The soldiers are expected to fight insurgents without proper strategic and military support. The encounter with Naxalites is a routine affair for them.

The Naxalites are well aware of the internal areas and they use it to their advantage. They are experts in Guerrilla warfare tactics and successfully trap their prey.  Their strategy is to exhaust enemy’s gun power and inflict maximum damage. First, they fire at the security forces and then take a different way to surround the forces from a different direction. The reinforcements which hardly last some hours are soon exhausted in the encounter. The jawans are left to the mercy of the enemy who never spares them. Various other reasons also contribute to the failure of tackling the Naxal issue.

Reasons for failure to tackle the Naxal Problem:-

1.  The Naxals communicate with the tribes in their local language whereas the jawans are unable to do the same.

2.  Naxalites use traditional ways of communication which is difficult to comprehend.

3.  There is a fear of Naxals in the affected areas and people are scared to act as informers or provide help in anyway.

4.  Naxalites have their agents in the villages and other local areas.

5.  The areas are technologically deficient and lack electricity, water, telephone, proper roads and other resources which makes it difficult for the paramilitary to communicate.

6. Since transportation is a major problem, the forces are not provided with adequate equipment and resources.

What Matters the Most :-

In 2010 alone more than 79 CRPF soldiers have been killed on duty, the figure was 58 in 2009. The jawans realize that they have only two options available: to kill or to be killed and unfortunately they cannot even make a choice. Their sacrifice is hardly valued or honored by the citizens. Their condition is equally neglected by the state.

The State recruits soldiers to protect the nation but an equivalent duty vests on the state to protect its soldiers. The state can not act as a mere spectator to these mass killings. There lies no martyrdom is being a ready bate for the enemy. The CRPF jawans lack proper training, amenities, resources, intelligence system and assistance. The political and ideological fight between the Naxals and the government might probably end one day but till then many precious lives would be lost.

Taking pride in Kargil would serve no purpose if the Indian soldiers are treated as bates on their own soil.

Voluntary Retirement Scheme

The fear of death, lack of job satisfaction, low perks and remunerations and negligible promotions have forced many CRPF soldiers to opt for Voluntary Retirement Scheme (V.R.S). Most of them find the job of a private guard better than serving the paramilitary. The force is usually posted in sensitive areas like J&K, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and North East and at places where election is supposed to take place.

Tehelka reports, “According to official data, an unprecedented 14,422 jawans applied for premature voluntary retirement from service (VRS) in 2009 — up 85 percent from the previous year and 112 percent from 2007. Compare this with the fact that only 4,622 soldiers sought voluntary retirement from the Indian Army — which is three times larger than all the paramilitary forces put together — in the same period, and the contrast becomes painfully stark.”

Probable Reasons for Disillusionment

Although most of their time is spend in traveling, unlike army they are provided with no special train boogies. It is up to the mercy of the railways to provide them with travel passes. The basic amenities have become a luxury for them. They are given low quality food, torn tents, few medical facilities and hardly any leave.

The benefits of the 6th Pay Commission have barely reached its beneficiaries. It is alleged that their own departments ensure that the welfare schemes doesn’t reach them. The officers in the higher cadre enjoy all facilities whereas the soldiers not only face the wrath of their officers but also have to struggle hard to get their rights enforced. They are treated as servants by their commanders and have to follow orders at any cost. The pressure of following orders is immense and any fault may result in serious consequences. They have to provide a bundle of documents to avail the benefits of the 6th Pay Commission which is impossible for them as they hardly get any leave.

Conclusion

In a populated country like India, vacancies would be soon filled by new entries but is it justified to loose these soldiers? They sacrifice their blood and sweat to ensure that we can vote without fear, freely walk on streets and live safely at our homes. On the other hand they are not only deprived the company of their families but barely experience any job satisfaction.
Death is so probable that life seems meaningless to them.The issue has to be addressed or the country would loose considerable number of patriots.

It is unfortunate that the state is unable to protect those who protect its citizens.

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Categories : Politics | Social Issues


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Comments
Vikramaditya July 10, 2010

Being a soldier does not mean that every time you sacrifice your life when you could be saved, in serving the country… It’s pathetic… you are right that the day is not so far when there will be less number of soldiers to be deployed in all kind of insurgency and get their life to an invaluable end. It will have a negative impact on the military forces, too. so, it is the need of time for the State to get into act as soon as possible and to listen the cries of these soldiers… however, Meghna, the statistics you provided for the death of CRPF jawans this year in maoist attacks is much more… anyway again hats off to you for the commendable job and chose such an untouched topic… :)

xyz July 10, 2010

my only point to u is that we as a nation do not honour any profession be it law, politics or even army. and the fact that u have written this article is a positive step in bringing light to the dark shady camps of the crpf men .

meghna July 10, 2010

thanks ankur.. but i still believe ignoring the people who have laid their lives for the nation is really sad and unfortunate. If a politician or a lawyer is not respected it can still be tolerated but dis-honouring a soldier it is unacceptable.

meghna July 10, 2010

Thanks Vikram.. I think all of must unite to bring awareness about the plight of the CRPF jawans. This topic needs to be addressed asap.

Raghuram July 14, 2010

A clear and lasting solution to the Maoist problem might not be near given that it is intertwined with politics. Indecisiveness and the play of vested interests of our politicians would hamper and delay the solving of the Maoist problem. So if I were a CRPF soldier I would quit the force at the first possible opportunity and take up some employment somewhere. It is better to slog somewhere and take care of our near and dear ones rather than lose our lives without any purpose. Our politicians are not patriotic and so the patriotism of our soldiers cannot serve any purpose.

meghna July 14, 2010

well said Raghuram…

jai jawan(kisan ka beta hi jawan hota ha aajkal) July 16, 2010

thnx meghna for your article……….
as regards the loss of life CRPF is on top in fighting with in country………and for benefits like pay packages CRPF is far behind from all other forces or police desipite the long and tough duty months……please meghna it is a personel request to you that you should compare the pay and package of CRPF men with all army …mind you 6th pay commission has recommended all package with at par of army but still CRPF(all para military forces) is/are poorest of poor forces ..so the result …..god bless all the forces

meghna July 16, 2010

thanks.. I completely realize that the 6th pay commission is highly flawed as it doesn’t even recognize these soldiers as skilled. Very soon I will update with you the compared salary figures as I was unable to find them previously.

nishank July 18, 2010

Comparison doesnt make any sense…There are less numbers of casualties in the Indian army because they are better trained and well organized…believe me they have to be in much more worst scenario than this

meghna July 18, 2010

I agree with u Nishank .. but I think what the former reader wanted to say was that if not equal; but similar packages must be given to the paramilitary forces as well. Both the forces lay down their lives for the fellow citizens and this spirit needs to be respected in every possible way.

prashant July 20, 2010

Everytime a CRPF patrol is ambushed. the common reply, is that SOP were not followed.
Does it not mean that SOP are impractical, difficult to follow in the real life, and good in books.
So the SOP’s must be changed

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meghna July 20, 2010

I agree with you Prashant, SOP definitely needs to be looked into.

Amit Dwivedi July 28, 2010

The government knows the plight of Indian jawans very well but they are least bothered. This problem will be difficult to tackle but highlighting these issues can be a step forward in this direction.

meghna July 28, 2010

You are right.. Spreading awareness is first step to change. Thanks for the comment.

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