17 CRPF personnel suspended for inaction

Deserted colleagues during gun battle in Chhattisgarh

17 CRPF personnel suspended for inaction

Seventeen Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, including four junior officers, were suspended for dereliction of duty on Saturday after an enquiry found that they deserted their martyred colleagues during a gun battle with Maoists in Chhattisgarh earlier this year.

The strict disciplinary action came after a preliminary inquiry found that these personnel, who were part of the squad trapped in the ambush, displayed “lack of action and did not show satisfactory counter action” to save fellow personnel by running to safety. Of the 17 personnel suspended, 13 are constables.

The incident took place in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on March 11 in which 15 security personnel and a civilian were killed, in a gory reminder of the 2010 Dantewada massacre in which 76 CRPF personnel lost their lives. The troopers are under suspension following the findings of the preliminary inquiry. 

The inquiry would be completed in another three months time, a senior CRPF official said.

 The probe conducted by a commandant rank officer found that there was violation of standard operating procedures. “The patrol squad was ambushed and Maoists looted a huge cache of weapons from the slain troops. What they did was sheer cowardice,” the official said. According to the official, if the personnel had returned fire, many lives could have been saved.

Around 200 Maoists walked away with the arms and ammunition of the slain policemen after the encounter that lasted nearly three hours. The attack at a road construction site came exactly a month before the Lok Sabha elections in Chhattisgarh. 

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